Familiar light fare for fans of the Wayside and Bailey School series, the Zack Files, Ghostville Elementary, etc., etc.

SCARY SCHOOL

Kent takes school integration to a new level with breezy tales of “learning, horror, and mayhem” at a grade school attended by a mix of humans and monsters.

As narrated by a chem-class fatality, the school year kicks off with the near-total consumption of a fifth-grade class by its strict teacher, Dr. Dragonbreath, for not following Class Rule Number Five: “No student is allowed to read this sentence.” Further reductions in the student body come thanks to a temperamental vampire teacher, the aptly named Principal Headcrusher, the peckish librarian/disciplinary officer Mrs. T (for Tyrannosaurus) and a variety of “accidents.” By year’s end, the survivors of these and such other hazards as the playground’s “well of a thousand screams” have also had a gross and vivid lesson in anatomy from a half-zombie who shucks off his skin to show his organs in action, enjoyed delicious lunches prepared by a student of WereWolfgang Puck and are ready for a climactic round of Ghoul Games against a worldwide array of all-monster schools. Aside from being mostly monsters, the cast looks like a typical set of students and teachers in Fischer’s frequent spot-art sketches. A dedicated web site offers further goofs and games, and the author repeatedly promises sequels.

Familiar light fare for fans of the Wayside and Bailey School series, the Zack Files, Ghostville Elementary, etc., etc. (Funny horror. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-196092-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Come for the mystery, stay for the backmatter.

JULIETA AND THE DIAMOND ENIGMA

This gentle, fast-paced mystery will hook readers with interesting details.

Julieta Leal, 9, is a magnet for disasters. She has a reputation at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where both her parents work, for making trouble. Julieta is just trying to help, and it’s not her fault that sometimes things get broken or she has a hard time following the rules. When Julieta’s dad invites her along on a trip to Paris regarding the loan of some pieces from the Louvre, she jumps at the chance to add another purple pin to her family’s world-travel map. She promises to be helpful and stay out of trouble and desperately wants to shed her reputation of being a liability. This proves difficult when the dazzling Regent Diamond is stolen and Julieta and her dad are implicated in the theft. With her dad’s job in peril and the prized gem missing, Julieta must rely on her keen observations and tenacity to clear their names. Detailed descriptions of Paris landmarks and factual information about museum pieces are woven naturally into the fast-moving plot so that readers come away with knowledge of these topics alongside a satisfying story. Several pages of backmatter notes bolster the learning. The endearing Julieta is bilingual, and she and her family are Mexican American.

Come for the mystery, stay for the backmatter. (glossaries) (Mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64379-046-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more