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A satisfying concept, friendly, Sendak-inspired colored-pencil–and-pastel illustrations, cartoonish attractiveness, and...

Some fiends have sucked the jam out of Sam’s doughnut! Who are the perpetrators of this wicked deed? Jampires, of course.

Just like their more sinister counterparts in the Twilight vein, Jampires swoop down in the night and steal the sweet stuff, leaving only a telltale dab of red on their tiny fangs. But young Sam is more than a match for them. Setting a trap in his bedroom with a ketchup-laced doughnut as bait, he manages to trap the jam-thirsty pair. Together they fly off to a magical land of desserts in the sky, “where Jampire moms perched under a sugar frosted dome” and a giant jar of jam soars above mountains of blueberry pie and, of course,…doughnuts. The tale ends happily when the Jampire moms, delighted with the safe return of their two “jammy dodgers,” reward Sam with a flown-in daily supply of luscious, jam-packed doughnuts. British author-illustrator team McIntyre and O’Connell have succeeded in creating a highly original narrative with text engagingly arranged. Skillful use is made of speech balloons in varying shapes, and key words—“hullabaloo,” “Slurp,” “CLANG”—are visually highlighted. And it’s hard to beat these two little jam-smeared monsters for cuteness.

A satisfying concept, friendly, Sendak-inspired colored-pencil–and-pastel illustrations, cartoonish attractiveness, and plain old wackiness make this sweet story a winner. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-81663-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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