A visit to “any museum with portraits” would be time better spent.

MASTER-PIECES

FLIP AND FLOP 10 GREAT WORKS OF ART

Horizontally split pages encourage young appreciators of art to mix and match facial features of 10 classic portraits.

Printed on heavy stock and arranged in no apparent order, the paintings—and the one Japanese woodblock print—are all close-ups that are adjusted for size so that George Washington’s jaw will (more or less) fit the Mona Lisa’s nose beneath the brow of, say, Vincent Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo. Arcimboldo’s fruit-and-veggie Vertumnus, the Japanese actor Sawamura Sojuro III, and African-American entrepreneur Edna Powell Gayle add at least a bit of diversity to the exhibit’s subjects. Stylistically, though, there is a lack of strong visual contrast. Viewers who flip the parts back and forth are likely to be equally unexcited by Lach’s bland commentary opposite: “My cheeks are of apples, my nose is a pear” notes Vertumnus self-evidently. The gloss in Gayle’s voice is positively vapid: “I run a Chicago art gallery, and my elegant hairstyle is perfect for my job.” And, alas, so is Frida Kahlo’s: “I am an artist. My elaborate hairstyle shows my love of Mexico.” Along with further information about each work and its creator at the end, the author offers a few desperate ideas for activities, such as visiting the originals or “any museum with portraits.”

A visit to “any museum with portraits” would be time better spent. (Novelty. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1274-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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