A good choice for transitioning readers looking for a splash of humor.

MORGAN GETS CRACKING

Life as a third-grader can be very trying….

Between Aldeen, the Queen of Mean, and Curtis, the nearly perfect new kid, Morgan has his hands full. What’s a boy to do? He and his best friend, Charlie, are just two ordinary kids, but unfortunately, they have to endure noogies from Aldeen and showing off from Curtis on a daily basis, even outside of school! In this continuation of the series (Music by Morgan, 2011), straightforward sentences with basic vocabulary describe Morgan’s mild misadventures, from a school trip to a chicken farm to schoolyard games and a block party that promises fun for all (or does it?). While the characters are only minimally developed and the plot a trifle simplistic, young readers will appreciate the accessible text, action-filled black-and-white illustrations, discrete chapters that end on suspenseful notes and a slight twist on the usual bully fare, as chubby Morgan tries to find a way to stand up to the daunting Aldeen, who may not be quite as evil as she appears. A quick, solid read for youngsters just ready for longer chapters but not quite prepared for Wimpy Kid books, this selection mines a similar vein and includes some good chuckles, a likable protagonist and an anti-bullying message that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

A good choice for transitioning readers looking for a splash of humor. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4595-0075-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Formac

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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