THE BUILDING BOY

A little white boy completes Grandma’s dream house with a hammer and a bit of magic.

Grandma used to be an architect. She built “the tallest skyscrapers, the most beautiful palaces,” and many other buildings. Every night the little boy sits in Grandma’s lap in Grandma’s favorite chair in the study, in front of a roaring fire, and looks at photographs from Grandma’s past. She plans to build a beautiful house for the two of them that will be on a hill on the horizon beyond the sea. But time is marching on; Grandma becomes too old to build a house, to make dinner, to climb the stairs. One day, the boy comes home to find her gone, and now the house is “just rooms.” But he has an idea. He works for months building, through wind and snow and rain. Finally, he has it: a gigantic…grandmother! (There’s a little chimney sprouting from her metallic blue hair.) She takes him by the hand and leaps into the air. They fly over gigantic fields, walk on the ocean, and scale tall skyscrapers. Finally, he sees it. On a hill above the city and across the sea sits the house that Grandma has started for him. It becomes The Building Boy’s School for Young Architects. Montgomery’s imaginative tale of grief and legacy is refreshingly untethered by logic. Litchfield’s illustrations amplify his themes with originality and a warm palette.

Sad and sweet. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-571-31409-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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