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SOOF

A sweet story that shows all you need is soof.

Fans of Weeks’ So B. It (2004) will recognize this companion book’s title as Heidi It’s intellectually disabled mother’s word for love.

Twelve-year-old narrator-protagonist Aurora Franklin, the biological daughter of the couple who fostered Heidi before Aurora was born, has grown up hearing about Heidi and her good luck. Her parents—Mom especially—credit this good luck with giving them Aurora. Sadly, Mom’s love for Heidi has instilled feelings of inadequacy in Aurora, who believes her mother wishes she were more like Heidi. Aurora has always been different. She speaks a made-up language called Beepish, prefers the company of adults to that of children, and wears her T-shirts inside out because of the bothersome tags. Mom was 48 when Aurora was born, resulting in anxiety for her daughter’s well-being. She sought desperately for a diagnosis, but doctors ruled out autism spectrum disorder, concluding that “quirky” Aurora simply marches to her own beat. A now-grown and pregnant Heidi’s impending visit triggers tension between Aurora and her mother, and Aurora is determined not to be nice to Heidi. Will she learn there’s “soof” enough for them both? Aurora is complex, simultaneously eliciting sympathy and exasperation. She’s blunt, bordering on rude, but her heartache at losing her dog, her only friend, is palpable. Knowledge of the previous book isn’t a prerequisite. The book adheres to the white default.

A sweet story that shows all you need is soof. (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-84665-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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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

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