Good, clean, monstrous fun.

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BRUTE-CAKE

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 1

The Notebook of Doom series’ Alexander Bopp and the Super Secret Monster Patrol are back with a new host of not-so-scary-monsters for emerging readers.

The school year has ended, the city of Stermont is safe from the monsters that had plagued it, and Alexander has drifted apart from his S.S.M.P. crew. He’s a little at a loss. Alexander’s dad saves the day by signing the monster slayer up for a different kind of S.S.M.P.: the Stermont Summer Maker Program. The public library boasts a summer filled with art, games, music, puppetry, brick building, chess, and, of course, a makerspace. At the library, Alexander meets librarian Ms. Sprinkles, who gives her young patrons a binder in which they can store their amazing creations. Happily, Alexander eventually finds that his friends have also decided to attend the library’s summer program, and the trio finds that their fight to keep Stermont safe from monsters is not, in fact, over. The titular baked good threatens! Fans of the previous series will enjoy this new one as well. The story is easy to follow, with large print, and the numerous grayscale illustrations are humorous, with enough cheeky puns to engage readers transitioning to chapter books. The back of the book includes questions and activities for the classroom as well as eager-reader book clubs. Alexander has dark skin and puffy dark hair, while Rip and Nikki have lighter skin; Ms. Sprinkles has dark skin and a brown Afro.

Good, clean, monstrous fun. (Paranormal adventure. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31467-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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