A compilation that’s best for libraries looking to increase their offerings about positive thinking and gratitude.

MACARONI AND CHEESE

VOLUME 1

Three stories showcase being grateful and thinking outside the box in Turk’s debut collection, with color and black-and-white illustrations by debut artists Solomon and Muffins.

Does your brain have a committee of voices judging you? Do you ever suspect that your neighbors are aliens, content to live humdrum lives? Are you so grumpy and grouchy that you forget to be grateful? These are the types of questions asked by the three tales in this book. In “Sabrina and Her Committee,” a young girl with very long hair and a huge imagination discovers small voices, nestled in her hair, which criticize her. Eventually she finds the smaller voice of her heart, Grace, which teaches her to love herself. Unfortunately for Sabrina, her schoolteacher is the loudest of the critics outside her head, judging her penmanship, her focus, her art, and her appearance. Indeed, the teacher’s verbal abuse will surely elicit commentary from adult readers. Turk captures Sabrina’s genuine worries very well, though adults may wish that the character focused less on being “pretty enough.” Solomon’s brightly colored ink-and-paint illustrations reveal Sabrina’s big personality. “Mediocrity,” a list of rules for identifying aliens from the “planet, ADEQUATE from the universe, MEDIOCRE,” will make readers think about whether the people they encounter every day are merely sleeping through average lives; it’s accompanied by Solomon’s grayscale cartoons. “Grumpy, Grouchy, and Grateful,” featuring boldly colored, humorous illustrations from Muffins, tells of three caterpillar brothers, only one of whom bothers to look at the world around him and hope for a brighter future. Each story offers opportunities for young readers to identify themselves and recognize attitudes and behaviors that may make it hard to succeed and be happy. Turk uses an accessible vocabulary in the sometimes–text-dense stories and creates fun characters with whom children will empathize. The varying art styles fit their stories well and are sure to draw interested browsers. The book also includes an audio CD (not reviewed).

A compilation that’s best for libraries looking to increase their offerings about positive thinking and gratitude.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ribbonhead

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

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

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. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

more