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BRAVO, MAX!

Continuing the exchange of notes and postcards begun in Dear Max (2006), renowned children’s author D.J. Lucas and her greatest fan, young Max, provide mutual support in the course of another busy year. For her, it’s one of writing and promotional traveling and for him, one of struggling with a trollish babysitter and a firming relationship between his widowed mother and a new friend. It’s an exciting time for Lucas, whose My Teacher’s a Nutcase is being made into a film (starring “Tom Trews” and “Jennifer Aniseed”) even as she’s trying her hand at creating a higher-toned novel. Meanwhile, Max deals with his unhappiness partly by concealing it from his mother, and partly by composing a play in which his sitter is an ogre and Mom’s bearded, deceptively friendly caller is dubbed Fungus Face. Including playwriting tips and brief passages of dialogue along with savvy advice and loyal expressions of encouragement, the epistolary back-and-forth, liberally strewn with Max’s line drawings, creates two equally engaging storylines—and may get the creative juices flowing in some young readers, too. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 27, 2007

ISBN: 1-4169-0393-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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