Alas, Lola feels more like a Clementine or Ramona wannabe than a real original. (Fiction. 7-10)

LAST-BUT-NOT-LEAST LOLA GOING GREEN

Second-grader Lola Zuckerman suffers from the indignity of having a last name at the end of the alphabet.

Lola is always called last as her teacher, Mrs. D., always uses the alphabet as her guide, which leaves Lola scrambling as all the good ideas are taken by the time she gets to speak. Mrs. D.’s class is Going Green. They vote on a project to try together—Lola’s worm-composting idea or her former best friend’s proposal of a trash-free lunch. Eventually, the girls make amends, and the class changes its wasteful ways. Unbelievable plotlines undermine this slight, realistic school story: The teacher always calls on her students in alphabetical order? She refers to her class as jelly beans, lollipops and butterscotch babies? Second graders incite a food fight that adults are unable to stop?  The first-person narration gives readers an intimate view of Lola’s fiery resentment of her older brother and the children in her class. Most readers will tire of the malapropisms Lola repeatedly commits, including ball-face lie for bald-face lie, fishsticks for fiddlesticks, won on won for one on one and Mick Mansion for McMansion (these last two homophonic examples feel especially contrived). Hoppe’s pen-and-ink drawings (most unseen) add needed life to the story, showing Lola in constant motion.

Alas, Lola feels more like a Clementine or Ramona wannabe than a real original. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-935-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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