As anxiety-producing as the news.

A boy fears climate change.

Ten-year-old Florent, a light-skinned child with pale brown hair and blue eyes, “isn’t like other kids”; he’s energetic and sensitive, which might be an attempt at indicating unspecified neurodiversity, since children are often emotionally labile and exuberant. One evening he overhears his mothers (both light-skinned like him) discussing whether they should have another baby; one of them mentions her climate-related anxieties and wonders if it’s wise to bring another child into the world. Florent feels immediately implicated and spirals out over the next few days, imagining numerous horrific possible futures, depicted in equally distressing illustrations. When Florent finally shares his concerns with his parents, they tell him that Mamochka is already pregnant and that they can “stop buying things we don’t need” and “hope the world will heal in time,” but people “should NEVER stop having children.” The subtitle of this book belies the interior, which is more likely to substantiate fears than soothe them given the detailed nightmares and vague, ultimately unhelpful resolution. The stilted voice throughout, occasional lapses into an adult’s perspective, stiff artwork, and unnecessarily voluminous page count will make this tale, translated from French, a hard sell to families and schools alike. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

As anxiety-producing as the news. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781778400827

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

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

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. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018


From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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