A summertime visit to the countryside with people who are fun to share time with. What could be better? (Fiction. 6-10)

READ REVIEW

BLACKBERRY JUICE

Newly relocated to a run-down seaside farm, brothers (and best friends) Cyrus and Rudy face big changes.

Although Cyrus, 9, and Rudy, 8, have some serious reservations about leaving the city, the move they tried hard to prevent in Not for Sale (2015), there are ample new and interesting aspects of rural life to distract them. Most important of these are their colorful new neighbors, Rachel (who is clothed entirely in a different primary color each day) and her grandparents, and a depressed donkey, Rumpley, that unexpectedly came with the house. For Rudy, some of the fun comes in the form of an old thesaurus that gives him the opportunity to spout amusing synonyms. Cyrus takes the donkey on as his personal project. Rumpley hasn’t enjoyed life since his old master died two years ago, but Cyrus is determined to make up for that. The donkey’s loyal payback eventually plays a critical role in an exciting (if a bit improbable) climax when Cyrus accidentally gets stranded on a rock during a rising tide. Flook’s cartoon illustrations enhance the simple, amusing text that is peopled with warm, engaging characters (all of them apparently white) and a gently nuanced animal relationship. Short chapters and a limited vocabulary make this a fine choice for emerging readers.

A summertime visit to the countryside with people who are fun to share time with. What could be better? (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1228-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

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

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

DOG DAYS

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more