Chapter-book readers should latch onto it. (Fantasy. 6-8)



From the Furry and Flo series , Vol. 1

The Corman Towers apartment building has a creepy outside; wait till Flo sees the inside!

Fourth-grader-to-be Florence (but don’t call her that) has moved around each year since her father died; her mom has to go where the work is. This year’s building, Corman Towers, is in the city and doesn’t look promising. The apartment has cracked windows and stains, and there’s a kid in his underwear running through the hallway. Weird. Ferdinand—“Furry”—is no less weird when Flo actually meets him, but at least he puts some shorts on. Then her groceries are attacked and her Popsicles stolen. Flo thinks some dog may have done it, but no pets are allowed. Flo goes in search of Furry, who’s doing laundry, and he shows her a crack in the basement floor that goes blue. Weird. Late that night, she catches Furry (in his underwear again) running with her Popsicles…and when she chases him to the roof, he’s turned into a werewolf! Before that can settle, they’re attacked by a giant spider. Can the new friends escape a rampaging momma spider? Troupe’s series kickoff is a slightly spooky and little-bit-goofy tale for those just starting chapter books. Gilpin’s occasional black-and-white, pen-and-ink cartoon illustrations are a nice match. Glossary, questions and prompts at the close provide some educational backbone to the entertainment.

Chapter-book readers should latch onto it. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62370-033-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.


From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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More sentimental even than Staake’s earlier My Pet Book (2014), but the shiny metaphor is well-intentioned and the nod to...


A lifelong quest slowly transforms a stolidly incurious Brooklyn lad into an educated, well-traveled geezer.

A dedicated nonreader, young Isaac Gutenberg turns up his nose at the tantalizing facts his book-loving parents dangle before him until a mysterious little old lady tells him about a legendary volume that not only contains the answers to every question ever asked, but when opened “turns to solid gold.” As years pass and Isaac eagerly riffles through every book he finds, his unalloyed greed changes to curiosity: “Why don’t the pyramids have windows?” “Who invented pizza?” “How did the number eight get its name?” After scouring the world’s book shelves, he ultimately comes to realize that the search itself has given him “a long life filled with wonder.” Bronze-toned, retro-style views of New York, India, and other locales are bookended between 1935 and present-day visits to idealized but recognizable versions of the New York Public Library’s Main Reading Room. There (in an act that would in real life get him ejected if not arrested), old Isaac sidles up to an unattended young patron to pass on the glittering legend. Isaac and most of the other figures are white, but Staake diversifies the skin tones of street crowds and readers in the overseas and later scenes.

More sentimental even than Staake’s earlier My Pet Book (2014), but the shiny metaphor is well-intentioned and the nod to libraries is well-taken. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-51077-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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