From the Princess Posey series , Vol. 2

Posey loves everything about first grade, especially her beloved teacher, Miss Lee. Her best friends, Ava and Nikki, are in her class, and everyone is excited about Miss Lee’s birthday. They want to bring her just the right gift. First graders that they are, full of enthusiasm and love but not organization, they do not coordinate their gifts, and Posey is devastated to see that Nikki’s full bouquet of flowers completely upstages her little handful of roses. Greene (Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade, 2010) continues to get the social dynamic of first-grade girls perfect—the deep need to be loved by their teacher, the joy and confusion of friendships, the quick emotion and equally speedy forgiveness. New readers will recognize the situations and will smile when Posey bumbles her way back into Nikki’s good graces: “I’m sorry. I was being silly…You can use my kitty eraser today.” Very short chapters, generous font, lots of eye-saving white space on each page and frequent black-and-white illustrations make this longish early chapter book accessible to the very earliest reader. Posey is flawed in a way that is absolutely perfect. She struggles with her emotions and finds her way back with the help of her mother, teacher and small circle of buddies. Here’s hoping for more tales of Posey. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25462-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.


From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A lump of coal for this one.



An unusual origin story for Santa Claus.

“Long, long ago in the very north a group of people lived with the reindeer.” Snow never states that the nomadic people in his story are Sami, but he does nothing to keep readers from making the association. The story relates how, one winter solstice, the main character, an unnamed boy, discovers the family’s precious reindeer are missing. He goes out into the snow to find them, following them into a cave that leads deep underground to a magical land of Summer. It’s guarded by three creatures who tell the boy he may never return to his home but who grant him three wishes. He asks for freedom, happiness, and time—experiencing them once each year when he is permitted to return to his family and their clan, who lie in suspended animation during his visit. Each year he leaves gifts, even decorating the inside of their lodge. One year, a guardian of Summer gives him a feather that will enable his reindeer to fly, and on another, anticipating his visit, his family leaves him a red suit trimmed in white. It’s all very clever, but in borrowing the traditional habits of the Sami and failing to clarify that his mythmaking is original, Snow risks clouding many readers’ understanding of a real, extant, and marginalized culture. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 68.6% of actual size.)

A lump of coal for this one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84365-386-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Pavilion Children's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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