A great read for Lola’s fans and any kid with a yen for a furry pet of their own.


From the Lola Levine series , Vol. 4

Peruvian/Jewish Lola momentarily inhabits cloud nine in this latest installment of the popular series (Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme, 2016, etc.).

Counting down the days until her family’s kitty acquisition, Lola keeps busy with the construction of a kitty castle, swim lessons, and research trips to the library. But sadly, all is not well in the Levine household. When an orange cat (dubbed Jelly) comes home with Lola, her brother, Ben, starts exhibiting suspicious symptoms. Lola encourages him to lie about what is clearly a newfound allergy, but this strategy goes south when Ben wakes up with a rash. With Jelly’s days clearly numbered, it’s up to Lola to find her much-longed-for cat a new home ASAP, or it’s back to the shelter. For a kid faced with the crushing disappointment of losing her new pet, Lola takes the news of Jelly’s imminent departure unbelievably well. Mitigating this challenge to credibility, her gutsy attempts to tackle the puzzle of Jelly’s new home smack of true heroism. Befitting this culturally diverse protagonist, Lola’s mixed heritage is acknowledged in small ways throughout, with Peruvian cultural details (chicha morada) and occasional, italicized use of Spanish (“¡Vámonos!”) and Yiddish (bubbe). When Lola bids goodbye to her díario, she tells it “shalom.”

A great read for Lola’s fans and any kid with a yen for a furry pet of their own. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-25853-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

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


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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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