With its exhilarating illustrations, another tale from this master storyteller rings true.

GO ASK OZZIE

A ROTTEN RICHIE TALE

With humorous text and visuals that recount another youthful episode, Polacco takes readers to mid-1950s Oakland, California.

Patricia is in junior high, the same school her “rotten, redheaded older brother…Richie” attends. Her brother embarrasses her with his slovenly hygiene; underscoring this, Polacco draws him as a monstrously funny figure. But one day, he miraculously changes, cleaning up both room and body, and shows up as the ice cream scooper at Ozzie’s lunch counter. He is dating Patricia’s best friend’s older sister, and the slightly younger girls are mortified. Even though the thought of Richie and Diane kissing makes them “want to hurl,” the budding artist has designs on handsome Johnnie Pearson. Once a week at ballroom dancing, Patricia longs for an invitation to dance. Their teacher insists that the boys do the asking, but only the “dweeb…geek…weirdo” Michael McKennah, with braces and glasses, asks her. When the end-of-year dance is announced, she is determined to learn the latest dances. Ozzie offers to introduce her to an expert—but it’s her own brother. He teaches Patricia the popular dances, and she finally shows her prowess and winds up with a surprise boyfriend. Characters and action are rendered with verve in the author/illustrator’s signature style, the scenes full of movement. All main characters present White, but there is racial diversity in the background. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

With its exhilarating illustrations, another tale from this master storyteller rings true. (author's note) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7855-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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