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SOPHIE HARTLEY AND THE FACTS OF LIFE

From the Sophie Hartley series , Vol. 4

Those readers ready to graduate from Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones will find a kindred spirit in Sophie.

Spirited Sophie is back for a fourth tale in this highly readable series (Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley, 2010, etc.), trying to walk the line between growing up and holding onto the fun and innocence of childhood.

Things are changing all around 10-year-old Sophie: Her mother seems irritable with her family all the time; older sister Nora has developed a distressing obsession over the state of her hair; and annoying classmate Destiny is determined to prove that Sophie and her friends are immature babies since they do not show interest in the movie shown to the fifth-grade girls. Greene captures the trials and tribulations of growing up in a loving but often bickering family through humorous details and a perfect mix of emotional outbursts, earnest worries and deadpan dialogue. Good thing Sophie can depend on her loyal friends Jenna and Alice to get her through her most recent snafu: a promised talk delivered by her mother, a nurse, about “P-U-berty” that will one-up the obnoxious Destiny. But when her mother is unexpectedly unable to give it, what will she do? Help comes from the most unexpected places. Older brother Thad provides a laugh-out-loud explanation of hormones and glands, Nora softens to offer advice, and the new yoga classes Sophie has been taking help her with self-control.

Those readers ready to graduate from Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones will find a kindred spirit in Sophie. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97652-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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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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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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