A charming adventure that will encourage kids to become knights in their own communities as well.

READ REVIEW

KNIGHT OF THE CAPE

From the Definitely Dominguita series , Vol. 1

In this chapter-book series opener Dominguita Melendez is on a quest to teach the class bully that girls can most definitely be knights, no matter what he has to say about it.

Really, it’s not so much that Dom wants to be an actual knight. She simply wants to read about them in peace. Reading makes her feel close to her abuela, who just left for Florida to live with her sister because she can’t remember things like she used to. Reading Abuela’s favorite book, Don Quijote, lets the young Cubana feel like they are still together. With the weekend in front of her, Dom sets out as a knight-errant to rescue those in need. With any luck, she will have a daring rescue that her brother, Rafi, can write about, both to prove Ernie Bublassi wrong and to send to Abuela. With some help, Dom finds armor and a lance, and she even picks up a few friends along the way, learning that some adventures are better with a squire and trusty dog—er, steed—by your side. While the plot is carried by Dom’s search for knightly deeds, the focus is on the relationships in her vibrant Cuban American community. It’s heartwarming to see adults take a young girl’s knightly play seriously. Even better are the friendships she builds with her squire, Pancho Sanchez, and her master of the cookies, Steph, who walks with a brace. Dom has olive skin, and Pancho has brown skin; Ernie and Steph seem to be White. Book 2, Captain Dom’s Treasure, publishes simultaneously.

A charming adventure that will encourage kids to become knights in their own communities as well. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6503-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Deliberately inspirational and tinged with nostalgia, this will please fans but may strike others as overly idealistic.

STICKS AND STONES

Veteran picture-book creator Polacco tells another story from her childhood that celebrates the importance of staying true to one’s own interests and values.

After years of spending summers with her father and grandmother, narrator Trisha is excited to be spending the school year in Michigan with them. Unexpectedly abandoned by her summertime friends, Trisha quickly connects with fellow outsiders Thom and Ravanne, who may be familiar to readers from Polacco’s The Junkyard Wonders (2010). Throughout the school year, the three enjoy activities together and do their best to avoid school bully Billy. While a physical confrontation between Thom (aka “Sissy Boy”) and Billy does come, so does an opportunity for Thom to defy convention and share his talent with the community. Loosely sketched watercolor illustrations place the story in the middle of the last century, with somewhat old-fashioned clothing and an apparently all-White community. Trisha and her classmates appear to be what today would be called middle schoolers; a reference to something Trisha and her mom did when she was “only eight” suggests that several years have passed since that time. As usual, the lengthy first-person narrative is cozily conversational but includes some challenging vocabulary (textiles, lackeys, foretold). The author’s note provides a brief update about her friends’ careers and encourages readers to embrace their own differences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Deliberately inspirational and tinged with nostalgia, this will please fans but may strike others as overly idealistic. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2622-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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