If change must happen, Cody’s good company.

CODY AND THE HEART OF A CHAMPION

From the Cody series , Vol. 4

Spring is in the air—a change the energetic bug-fancier Cody’s so, so ready for that other, unheralded changes in her life take her by surprise.

Accepting that she’s outgrown her red spring jacket feels like abandoning a faithful friend. While Cody’s been trying to coax her ant colony into the sunshine, her friend Pearl has had two sleepovers with Madison, who’s persuaded Pearl to sign up for a combined boys-and-girls soccer league. Pearl wants Cody to sign up, too. Though Cody’s cautious friend and neighbor, Spencer, warns her soccer means getting bonked on the head and bossy Madison is not Cody’s favorite person, she signs up. Once coach Yazmin determines she’s left-footed, Cody proves adept at dribbling, unlike Pearl. Still, Madison is the team’s unquestioned star player, and Pearl’s her acolyte. Spencer’s family is changing, too; will there be room in his crowded house for a new baby? Why is he creating a museum under his front porch? Navigating tricky friendship ups and downs is a challenge, but Cody’s older brother, Wyatt, remains her stalwart supporter, and her long-distance-trucker dad offers timely, sage advice. Accepting the inevitable and powering through are the enjoyable lessons tucked into the fourth installment of this sturdy series set among a diverse collection of friends and neighbors. (Cody and Madison appear to be white, while Pearl is Asian, Spencer is black, and the affectionately nicknamed Coach Y! has dark skin.)

If change must happen, Cody’s good company. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7921-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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