Lively writing, broad humor, and a fast-paced plot will capture and keep readers’ interest, particularly those who, like the...

THE BOOKSHOP GIRL

A foundling thwarts the machinations of two greedy, duplicitous villains.

Property Jones was abandoned by her biological parents in a bookshop at 5 and taken in by its owner, Netty, and her son, Michael. From this disconcerting beginning, a whimsical tale unfolds in this British import. Six years (and only a few pages) later, Property, Netty, and Michael enter (and win!) a contest to become the new owners of a well-known “Book Emporium.” They barely have time to explore a few of its fantastical rooms before Eliot Pink arrives to dash their dreams, claiming he sold an extremely valuable book to the Emporium’s previous owner but was never paid. Undaunted, Property and Michael investigate Pink and his partner, then devise a plan to expose their trickery. Beginning with a section addressed to readers directly and continuing through the third-person omniscient narration, Bishop’s tone is warm and confiding. Black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations further illuminate both setting and characters, who are all white. The Room of Ocean Tales, for example, features an enormous glass tank filled with sea life; Pink looks a bit like a vampire while Property is big-eyed and winsome. Some clothing details have an old-fashioned feel while others are decidedly contemporary, an incongruity that suits and amplifies the story’s whimsy.

Lively writing, broad humor, and a fast-paced plot will capture and keep readers’ interest, particularly those who, like the author and her characters, love books. (author Q-and-A) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68263-045-7

Page Count: 135

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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