This quietly emotional tale is an ultimately triumphant one


A boy and a puppy overcome difficult times in this illustrated chapter book.

Beginning the tale from the puppy’s point of view, Colfer employs simple language evoking an innocent sensibility, with many words in all-caps reflecting puppyish enthusiasm. The puppy’s early days with his mother and siblings are followed by a heart-wrenching stint with the abusive couple who brings the puppy home as a present for their cruel boy. After the puppy is abandoned at the dump, Colfer switches the point of view to Patrick, a human boy, who is driving with his mother to his grandad’s house to spend the summer. Asking when his touring-musician father will arrive, Patrick is dumbfounded when his mother, instead of answering the question, asks him if he would like to have a dog. Evading the issue of his father’s allergies, Patrick’s grandfather brings him to the shelter, where he picks out (readers will be so relieved) the abandoned puppy and names him Oz. Oz, however, is so traumatized he stays in his crate until, by accident, Patrick’s grandfather discovers that Oz enjoys music. Patrick digs out his violin and plays for him, eventually gaining his trust. Just as all seems well, Patrick learns that his father is leaving his mother—and now it is Oz’s turn to rescue Patrick. Lynch’s realistic pencil illustrations greatly amplify the story, their sensitively rendered human and dog expressions echoing the varying tones of the text. Humans are depicted as white.

This quietly emotional tale is an ultimately triumphant one . (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0442-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.


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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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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