Next book

PENNY DRAWS A SCHOOL PLAY

From the Penny Draws series , Vol. 2

A helpful story about a young anxiety sufferer navigating the unexpected.

Journal entries addressed to her dog, Cosmo, continue to help Penny navigate life’s more difficult situations.

Though things have been going OK for a while, Penny knows she needs to start writing letters to her dog again when her classmate Luke’s folded-paper fortuneteller predicts “unexpected surprises” are coming her way. The first surprise turns out to be that everyone will be required to participate in the fifth grade class play. As if that isn’t enough, next her parents suddenly announce they’re moving to a new house. This second series entry further explores Penny’s changing friendship with ex-bestie Violet. She also attempts to forge a friendship between two people she likes very much who unfortunately dislike each other. Navigating these uncomfortable changes and social situations requires Penny to step outside her comfort zone and lean on her coping mechanisms to deal with her anxiety. Discussions with her Feelings Teacher offer more useful strategies for young people with anxiety. Although Penny’s new friend group is supportive, readers will squirm with vicarious embarrassment from some of the situations she finds herself in. Parts of the narrative would have benefited from tightening, but many readers will feel seen and validated. The interspersed comics are a highlight, carrying surprising emotional weight and humor given their simplicity. Penny and her family read white.

A helpful story about a young anxiety sufferer navigating the unexpected. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593616802

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
Next book

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

Next book

THE ONE AND ONLY RUBY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 3

Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

Close Quickview