Sure to please newly independent readers who are pussycat pals.

MY PET HUMAN TAKES CENTER STAGE

What is this “school” place little humans go to? Don’t they realize their feline owners are more important?

The erstwhile stray cat Oliver, formerly known as Mr. Independent (My Pet Human, 2015), can’t get his pet human girl, Freckles, to understand that she should stay home and pay attention to him rather than go to school, so he tags along by hiding in her backpack. Oliver uses that cat-patented big-eyed “Look” to charm the adult humans at school, but he ends up having to stay with Mrs. Sinclair, the adviser of the Fur-ever Friends Club…and that leads to Freckles’ joining the club. This has two unpleasant outcomes: Freckles fosters a kitten who has no respect for Oliver’s boundaries, and both Oliver and the kitten must participate in a talent-show fundraiser for a local shelter. Too many treats and hot lights spell disaster at the talent show for Oliver, but all works out for the best in the end. Surovec’s second tale of Oliver and his pet human will entertain fans of the first. Large text, ample black-and-white cartoon illustrations, and plenty of dialogue in talk bubbles will keep the pages turning in this tale of feline friendship. (In the cartoons, all human characters have paper-white skin, but there are variations in hair color and texture.)

Sure to please newly independent readers who are pussycat pals. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-074-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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