ELECTRA AND THE CHARLOTTE RUSSE

A funny tale to which most readers will relate, that gets off to a great start and then trails off, though realistically. Electra is sent to the bakery by her mother to collect six charlotte russes for company. Careful though Electra is, she trips, and three of the pastries are damaged. What follows are her attempts, by smoothing, licking, lapping, and shaping, to make all six look the same. One look at the now-naked pastry and Mama asks ``Electra, what happened to the whipped cream?'' ``I don't think they're making them with cream anymore'' is the less- than-artful dodge. Mama holds her tongue and Electra holds her belly, where an ache is starting to grow. After tea, Electra's mother guesses at her child's distress and delivers a kindly lesson about honest mistakes. Garland conjures a 1920s city setting in electronic art that is most notable for how indistinct it is from conventional illustration. A real problem is the pacing of the words and art: Some pages are heavy with text, others have only a line or two, and the text of the last scene is separated from its illustration by a full-page close-up of a parrot. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-56397-436-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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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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THE RECESS QUEEN

Positing that bullies only act that way because they’re lonely, O’Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers (“she’d push ’em and smoosh ’em, / lollapaloosh ’em, / hammer ’em, slammer ’em, / kitz and kajammer ’em . . .”), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, “How DID you get to be so bossy?” and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith’s (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text’s informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily here than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue’s engaging, fizzy exuberance. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-20637-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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