This book is a hard pass.

READ REVIEW

MIGHTY MEG AND THE MAGICAL RING

From the Mighty Meg series , Vol. 1

A new superhero series for chapter-book readers.

This series opener introduces readers to an 8-year-old superhero in the making. On her birthday, Meg receives a ring from her aunt and uncle after her aunt returns from an archaeological dig in Sweden. Though Meg receives numerous other gifts, including a gift from her father in Nigeria, it is the ring of a Swedish Viking girl warrior that intrigues Meg most and bestows magical powers on Meg. The illustrations are done in hues of orange, black, and gray and portray a diverse group of characters, establishing Meg, her mom, little brother, and aunt as black. While a black archaeologist is most welcome, the plot reinforces a familiar narrative that superpowers are the creation and domain of whiteness. With her Viking ring, Meg comes to embody in blackface an unthinking sense of innate white superiority. In this Black Panther era, when young black readers are attempting to find spaces in books and media that reflect black cultural values as a source of empowerment, this book, though light and seemingly nice, is at best a bland whitewash of culture and at worst a book that bolsters subliminal messaging of inferiority.

This book is a hard pass. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0832-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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