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CHEESIE MACK IS NOT A GENIUS OR ANYTHING

From the Cheesie Mack series , Vol. 1

Ronald “Cheesie” Mack and his best friend, Georgie, are about to graduate fifth grade and embark on the best summer ever, which will include, but not be limited to, making points in a private battle against Cheesie’s evil older sister June, hanging out in their treehouse and, most importantly, summer camp in Maine. Summer’s only a day away, and things already seem to be off to a great start when Georgie finds an old necklace and a 1909 penny stashed in their basement. Then bad news hits big: Georgie’s dad’s been laid off, and they can’t afford camp. Cheesie decides to be a best friend and stay home too, so summer’s looking lame-ish. First, they have to get through the boring graduation ceremony; Georgie (as usual) has a plan to spice it up. When a possibility arises to get the money for camp, the boys have to decide what course of action is right. Readers will be happy to learn that Cotler’s debut is the first in a new series. Cheesie chattily narrates his own story; his voice rings true, and the other characters are a gently quirky, appealing lot. His periodic invitations to read posts on or add stories to the CheesieMack.com website will hook denizens of the digital generation, but doing so isn’t vital to enjoying the ride. No art was seen, but the final book will have many fun illustrations (according to Cheesie) from Time Warp Trio illustrator McCauley. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86437-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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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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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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