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

READ REVIEW

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

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror.

THE ICKABOG

Rowling buffs up a tale she told her own children about a small, idyllic kingdom nearly destroyed by corrupt officials.

In the peaceful land of Cornucopia, the Ickabog has always been regarded as a legendary menace until two devious nobles play so successfully on the fears of naïve King Fred the Fearless that the once-prosperous land is devastated by ruinous taxes supposedly spent on defense while protesters are suppressed and the populace is terrorized by nighttime rampages. Pastry chef Bertha Beamish organizes a breakout from the local dungeon just as her son, Bert, and his friend Daisy Dovetail arrive…with the last Ickabog, who turns out to be real after all. Along with full plates of just deserts for both heroes and villains, the story then dishes up a metaphorical lagniappe in which the monster reveals the origins of the human race. The author frames her story as a set of ruminations on how evil can grow and people can come to believe unfounded lies. She embeds these themes in an engrossing, tightly written adventure centered on a stomach-wrenching reign of terror. The story features color illustrations by U.S. and Canadian children selected through an online contest. Most characters are cued as White in the text; a few illustrations include diverse representation.

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-73287-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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