Older middle-grade readers will find these Latin American horror stories deliciously short but spooky.

READ REVIEW

THE DONKEY LADY FIGHTS LA LLORONA AND OTHER STORIES / LA SEÑORA ASNO SE ENFRENTA A LA LLORONA Y OTROS CUENTOS

An entertaining bilingual collection of short stories that feature a creepy assortment of Mexican-inspired ghosts, witches, monsters, and more.

Each of the 12 chapters offers a different contemporary story following middle school–aged protagonists who come into contact with a frightening figure, like the infamous La Llorona—the weeping woman who appears near rivers and creeks looking for children to claim as her own—or the lesser-known duendes—green-skinned goblins that wreak havoc. Although some readers may be initially confused that each story focuses on a new set of characters, the separate tales make for ideal campfire or chapter-a-night read-alouds. As a bonus, all of the chapters are accompanied by an equally scary illustration of the spirits, brujas, and devils. Although all are written in clear, easy-to-access prose, a few of the stories stand out as particularly memorable: the titular showdown between La Llorona and the Donkey Lady as they fight to possess a disbelieving Margarito; the older-skewing "Tunnels," about Joe, who encounters a crime-fighting Chupacabras while exploring a border-town cave; and the eerie "Can I Keep Him?" in which Nikko adopts a dog with special powers. Bilingual readers can read the lightly macabre stories twice, since they repeat in Spanish after the last chapter.

Older middle-grade readers will find these Latin American horror stories deliciously short but spooky. (Short stories. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55885-816-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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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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