Within this child’s view of the world, full of questions and pressure and misunderstanding, wisdom comes—sometimes from the...

LOST AND FOUND

Storyteller Harley embodies a child's fears with humor and sympathy.

Justin has lost his favorite hat, the one his grandmother made for him. His mother pesters him to find it before grandmother visits on the weekend. After an exhaustive search, the last place to look is the dreaded Lost and Found. Justin’s friend Devaun already lost his baseball jacket and was too afraid to go see Mr. Rumkowsky, the ancient custodian and keeper of the massive pile of lost belongings. With stifling tension, Harley has found the perfect emotional pitch to explore such universal childhood fears as visiting mysterious corners of the school or facing a terrifying adult. This story captures the essence of a brave child who confronts Authority. Not surprisingly, Mr. Rumkowsky is much kinder than he looks, but his gigantic box harbors much that is unsuspected. Harley’s view of the elementary-school world succeeds in making Justin's fanciful experience palpably real. Gustavson enhances the dramatic mood with realistic double-page spreads that artfully use a child's-eye perspective. The word “CAUTION” blazes from a cleaning bucket. There are endless locks on the janitor’s door. Leaves scatter everywhere, just like a young boy’s belongings.

Within this child’s view of the world, full of questions and pressure and misunderstanding, wisdom comes—sometimes from the unlikeliest places. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-628-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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