Both amusing and instructive, with broad appeal and excellent illustrations.

LIMERICK COMICS

Collected limericks for children ages 8 to 12 humorously present factual tidbits from science and history with comic-book–style illustrations.

In his debut book, Hoyman combines two forms that kids love—limericks and comic books—to offer one-page lessons on various subjects. Five panels, one for each line of the limerick (sometimes with additional comments from characters in word balloons), are followed by a sixth with more information. The opening limerick, for example, concerns jesters: “The jester was called by the King, / To tell a few riddles and sing. / Instead of his shtick, / He “pigeoned” in sick, / And was exiled up north of Peking.” The jester can be seen telling the beginning of a joke (“Did you hear the one about the bubonic plague?”), juggling, sending a messenger pigeon to the king while enjoying a day off fishing, and finally being tossed over the Great Wall of China. The sixth panel explains how jesters entertained kings and noblemen and what “exile” means. Other topics, in no particular order, include animals, such as anglerfish and chimpanzees; history and culture, such as the Pony Express, lamplighters, and clowns; and inventions, such as concrete. A glossary is included. Hoyman’s limericks generally scan and rhyme well, and background information is always interesting. One entry, based on what may be a true story, introduces readers to Sadie “the Goat” Farrell, a Hudson River pirate known for head-butting people. She lost her left ear—bitten off, as the sixth panel explains, by Gallus Mag, a New York City tavern bouncer. Some limericks are gross, a few didactic, and many straightforwardly informational. No sources are provided for these facts, but they seem sound; “caveman,” however, is an obsolete term. Feldman (Noah Learns To Share, 2017, etc.) varies his panels in size and distance (wide, medium, and close-up shots), giving them depth with good shadowing and a rich palette. His human figures are diverse and somewhat stylized but show expression well.

Both amusing and instructive, with broad appeal and excellent illustrations.

Pub Date: March 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73281-860-6

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A beautifully realized daydream; a fun yet thoughtful exploration of the complexities and possibilities hidden beneath...

GREGORY AND THE GRIMBOCKLE

In this debut middle-grade novel, a lonely boy finds friendship and learns about the magic of human connection.

Defined by the large mole on his lip, 10-year-old Gregory has grown distant from his family. He is friendless and withdrawn. Then one night a strange little creature emerges from Gregory’s mole. It is riding a (quite lovable) cockroach and can change size. This is the Grimbockle. The Grimbockle—one of many Bockles, who, like Palmer Cox’s Brownies, live at the peripheries of human awareness—tends to the exoodles that bind people together. Exoodles are long, transparent, noodlelike threads and are usually invisible. Once Gregory has his eyeballs painted with Carrot Juicy, though, he can see them. He joins the Grimbockle and the roach, traveling the exoodles as if on a high-speed roller coaster. Exoodles wither and die when people don’t look after their relationships. The Grimbockle is trying to repair a particularly sickly exoodle that links a boy to his mother. Can Gregory help—and can he mend the exoodles in his own life? Schubert follows delightedly in the footsteps of Roald Dahl, opening her unfortunate young protagonist’s eyes to a previously unseen world both weird and wondrous (yet for all its outlandish magic, oddly logical). The scenario is one of riotous imagination, while the Grimbockle himself—brought sweetly to life in black-and-white illustrations by Kraft—is a sprightly and good-natured little person, full of the type of singsong infelicities found in Dahl’s beloved nonhuman characters: “Is you ever seeing glimpses of squiggles in the corners of your twinklers but then they is disappearing in a snippety blink?” “ ‘Exoodles!’ shouted the Grimbockle in triumph. ‘Sometimes, hoo-mans is getting so twisty and wound up in extra exoodles that they is feeling gloomy blue and heavy all day long.’ ” The story is perhaps too much of a parable to fully match Dahl’s template; the adventure is safer and the threats less dark. Nonetheless, readers should fall willingly and with thrilled abandon into the fizzy, fanciful world of Gregory and his Grimbockle friend.

A beautifully realized daydream; a fun yet thoughtful exploration of the complexities and possibilities hidden beneath surface appearances.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9911109-3-3

Page Count: 153

Publisher: New Wrinkle Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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