The Stories of Goom’pa, Book 1

GOOM'PA AND SHINE

Malhotra’s debut book for young readers offers a sweet story about a star who falls in love.
Like a traditional fairy tale, this book begins with a princess and her father, the king. The twist is that the princess, Shine, is a young star, and her father, Prime Ray, is a celestial being who rules the universe. Despite having everything she can possibly want, Shine is filled with loneliness. With the help of her magical guardian, Zydaar, she searches the cosmos for what she might be missing. Her gaze happens to fall on Earth and an enchanted forest where tiny elfin creatures called Poofys live; each has a distinct “poof” of hair on his head, sharp teeth and slight limbs. Protected by a fairy spell and watched over by an ancient being who’s taken the form of a jaguar, the Poofys have gone undetected by humans who live nearby. As a result, their world is an innocent paradise in which the most dangerous threat is a rain shower. One of the Poofys, Goom’pa, catches Shine’s eye, and she’s overcome by love. Illustrations would have greatly enhanced the text, as it may be difficult for readers to visualize the Poofys and the other characters. However, the Poofys’ misadventures will make entertaining bedtime reading for younger kids, who will be tickled by their silly names, such as D’uh and Sadsak. The cutesiness of their antics, as they spend their days searching for “munchies,” taking “nappies” and suffering “bonkies,” may soon wear thin for older readers, though. Although there are hints that the Poofys may encounter trouble if they stray from their community, this is a gentle story with no real conflict. Even when the stars confront power struggles in their celestial realm, which promises more excitement, the situations are generally nonthreatening and quickly resolved. Goom’pa and Shine are guaranteed a happily-ever-after ending, but it’s one that promises more adventures to follow.
A generally charming, if sometimes overly sweet, bedtime story for children.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2014

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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