Readers will buzz to it like flies to manure.



From the Fly Guy series

Arnold’s buzzworthy Fly Guy series gets another spinoff, this time co-starring Fly Girl.

One day, Buzz invites Fly Guy to go to the zoo, inspired by a book about wild animals. Elsewhere, Liz invites her insect pal, Fly Girl. The human-fly pairs collide on their way with a “WHAP” (the flies) and a “WHUMP” (the humans). Once recovered, they decide to continue to their outing together. Buzz and Liz break off to go see the spider monkeys and naked mole rats, leaving Fly Guy and Fly Girl on their own. The two flies go looking for lunch, finding things that are “sticky,” “slimy,” “slippery,” and “smelly.” Their alliterative adventure culminates in a “scary” exhibit of “Creatures of the Night” (or, from their perspective, a “dark, dark cave”). “Gulpz” after “Gulpzie,” the flies spook themselves silly as they meet each animal. They hide in a box for safety. But will their humans find them? Using fewer than 90 words and their variants—including some decoded “fly talk”—Arnold keeps the text easy to read. The quick pace, including some genuinely surprising page turns, ups the entertainment factor. It’s unfortunate, however, that Fly Girl is presented with gender stereotypes: She’s pink and wears a bow on one of her antennae. Both Buzz and Liz present White. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.8-by-11.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25% of actual size.)

Readers will buzz to it like flies to manure. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-54921-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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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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