A unique celebration of playful creativity.



Asked to find specific items for her friends, a well-intentioned magpie seems to get it all wrong—or does she?

Adept at “finding things,” the magpie asks her friends if there’s anything she can find for them. Weary of winter, the goat asks for “spring!” but is not amused when the magpie presents a metal spring. Feeling lonely, the mouse wants “another mouse” and is very disappointed with the computer mouse the magpie locates. The homeless hog wants “a pen of my very own” to live in, not the ballpoint pen the magpie finds. The hungry squirrel asks for a “nut” to eat, not the bit of hardware the magpie retrieves. After asking for a “pair of glasses,” the farsighted owl’s surprised when the magpie returns with drinking glasses. And the boy who asks for a baseball “bat” is terrified with the live bat the magpie tosses him. How could the magpie get everything so wrong? But with some “creative thinking,” the magpie’s friends eventually “turn blunders into wonders!” With its clever wordplay, the text humorously introduces the concept of homonyms. These are explained in a “Did You Know?” section in the backmatter while the “About the Art” section details how scrap artist Hundley assembled found objects on white backgrounds to produce the intriguing, striking illustrations, which appropriately reinforce the magpie’s penchant for finding things.

A unique celebration of playful creativity. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-6844-6214-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...


From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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