Some solid advice about both the cafeteria and life is embedded in this tongue-in-cheek tale.


Grandits and Austin team up again to bring readers more school rules that they should (not!) follow.

Kyle, who survived breaking all Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus (2011), is older now—the bespectacled white lad’s got new interests, mainly all things insect—but he still worries about following the rules. So when a girl on his bus learns he is buying lunch for the first time (horrors!), he follows her advice and takes notes. Will he manage to survive breaking all seven rules, as is inevitable? While some of these rules will be helpful to the elementary or middle school set navigating the lunchroom, others humorously debunk their what-ifs by showing Kyle surviving the worst. They range from not holding up the line or taking too much to remembering to pay, sitting with your classmates (certainly not with the big kids!), and holding onto your tray. Austin’s acrylic, colored pencil, and digital illustrations both wonderfully portray Kyle’s every emotion and hysterically show his imagined metaphors: his class is a column of hungry ants, the lunch lady is an easily annoyed fly on the lookout for trouble, and the sixth-grade bully and his friends are carnivorous water bugs. Refreshingly, the book skips the cliché that school lunches are necessarily bad; the food looks appetizing, and Kyle states it’s very good.

Some solid advice about both the cafeteria and life is embedded in this tongue-in-cheek tale. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-69951-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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


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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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.


Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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