A warmhearted romp that might even work for older reluctant readers.

NOT FOR SALE

Cyrus and Rudy, 9 and 8 respectively, are faced with the nightmare scenario: their family is moving to a new house.

The brothers are best friends who enjoy amusing themselves with potato-gun battles and Legos and sitting up high on closet shelves and windowsills. Rudy is prone to panic attacks. Cyrus, the book’s insightful narrator, seems a calmer sort until he learns of the pending move. He’s lived in that house since he was adopted at the age of 2 months. Moving is just too scary. So he hatches an age-appropriate plot: get up in the middle of the night and remove the “For Sale” sign—and the one that replaces it—and the several that replace that one. From the intriguing opening sentence (“Ancient potatoes lurk in our bedroom closets”) to the feel-good conclusion, this very brief effort appealingly captures a small slice of very funny family life. In between are tolerant, loving parents, an admirable relationship between brothers, a bizarre but humorous cat, numerous rib-tickling, full-page illustrations, and some quirky problem-solving. Perhaps the only downside is that young readers are going to be trying to figure out how to build potato-guns—they look like water pistols but shoot spud chunks—of their own.

A warmhearted romp that might even work for older reluctant readers. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0719-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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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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