For fans of Google, trivia, and family strength.

THE GREAT GOOGLINI

From the Orca Echoes series

A young Canadian boy copes with the news that his uncle has cancer in Cassidy’s early chapter book.

Filip Horvat, the son of two Croatian immigrants, is about to complete his “tenth orbit around the sun.” An avid collector of facts, Filip, along with his best friend, Ivan, spends hours on Google looking up everything he can. When the news that his beloved uncle has been diagnosed with cancer comes on the heels of his birthday party, however, Filip’s mind reels with worry and questions. As any researcher worth their salt would, Filip turns to Google, and after finding out some information about what cancer is and how it is treated, he asks the question that is foremost in his mind: “Will Uncle Mato be alright?” A moment later, the Great Googlini—a tiny woman of color who is one of the information scientists inside Google who answer all the questions people ask—appears in a puff of computer smoke to answer him. Cassidy has crafted a thoughtful glimpse into the life of an immigrant family, and despite the refreshingly straightforward look at cancer and the struggle of having a loved one undergo treatment, the narrative retains its slice-of-life focus. Chua’s spot art depicts Filip, his family, and Ivan as white, gives some visual depth to various scenes, and helps nascent chapter-book readers with comprehension and pacing.

For fans of Google, trivia, and family strength. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1703-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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