A smile or two for those with severely short attention spans, not much more.

READ REVIEW

RETURN TO PLANET TAD

More tidbits from Planet Tad, compiled from a fictional blog originally published in Mad Magazine (Planet Tad, 2012).

Tad’s faux blog comes complete with emoticons and line drawings and records the events of January through December as he finishes eighth grade and begins ninth. The nearly daily entries are sometimes silly and sometimes sarcastic. He tries to learn ice skating in January, gets a cellphone (a lame one) for his birthday in March and is blackmailed into starring in the school’s production of Our Town by his teacher in April. Many entries are just vaguely humorous observations: Toothpaste should be called “mouthscrub” so it doesn’t sound like glue for teeth. No event or topic lasts for more than a few entries. His mean grandmother visits in June, the family attends her wedding in August, and Tad starts high school in September. Part of the team that won six Emmys for The Daily Show, Carvell turns out a second Tad title that, like its predecessor, lacks a central story. It reads, not surprisingly, like something written by a sketch-comedy writer trying for the Wimpy Kid audience. Final art not seen, but Holgate’s preliminary illustrations are a highlight.

A smile or two for those with severely short attention spans, not much more. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-226625-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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