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

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

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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

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