A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist.



Wyatt, with his tranquil predisposition, is unfortunately paired up with bold, noisy Noreen on a class trip to a nature park.

Strong, black pencil outlines create humorous caricatures, filled in with watercolor and gouache. Noreen’s big, bushy red ponytail plays off well against Wyatt’s mousy brown hair. She starts off boasting. “Fishing is my specialty” and “I was born for boating,” she brags. The illustrations show quite a different story. She tangles her line around Wyatt and causes him to fall out of the canoe. In an amusing double-page spread, she studies a butterfly and says, “I’m so good at noticing the details, it’s scary. “Meanwhile, she misses the large, bewildered beasts behind her. The two share other adventures, all dictated by Noreen: dangerous tree-climbing, hiking into poison ivy, zip lining. Finally, Noreen breaks into song just as she is walking down a hill that bears a sign warning of avalanche. Wyatt’s ninja-camp training, shown early in the book, kicks into high gear. He yells first and then, with a series of heroic moves, pulls Noreen out of the way of the descending rocks. Yes, it could be viewed as a typical boy-rescues-girl story, but in the end, Noreen and Wyatt end up enjoying nature quietly and doing martial arts together. These two opposite personalities are both white, although there is some diversity in the class.

A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-11330-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character


From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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