This newest continues to spin a fun and thoughtful yarn.

CALVIN COCONUT: KUNG FOOEY

From the Calvin Coconut series , Vol. 6

Sixth in a winning series set in Oahu, Hawaii, this latest about 9-year-old Calvin spins a new twist about his struggle with the island bully that will leave readers satisfied with its auspicious, though imperfect, resolution.

From the moment newcomer Benny Obi enters their classroom, Calvin and his friends recognize that he’s a bit of an oddball. Wearing a skull necklace and mirror shades, he approaches them on the playground and boasts about some accomplishments that seem rather unlikely, including knowing kung fu and having seen a show in Las Vegas performed by Calvin’s absentee dad, a singer. They’re dubious about Benny’s claims, but they find him fascinating and are dismayed when bully Tito begins targeting him. Salisbury’s established characters have achieved a comfortable familiarity, both because the author allows details about their personalities to emerge naturally throughout the series and because the dialogue and dynamics at play are so realistic. Calvin’s first-person voice and his internal process as he strives to do the right thing are engaging and believable. Rogers’ black-and-white ink-and-wash drawings are full of movement and mood, from broadly smiling insects to the formidable glower of Stella, the teenage friend of the family with whom Calvin has a strained, but caring sort-of-sibling relationship.

This newest continues to spin a fun and thoughtful yarn. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-385-73963-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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