Readers may have to count to 100 to cool their heels waiting for this clever pair’s next adventure.

FERGUS AND ZEKE AND THE 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL

From the Fergus and Zeke series

The adorable mouse best friends are back, brainstorming, problem-solving, and celebrating 100 days of school.

Miss Maxwell’s class pets get in on all the action, writing stories, reporting the weather, and celebrating special days alongside the racially diverse human students. So when the teacher announces a 100th-day party and an assignment to collect and bring in 100 objects, Fergus and Zeke are on it. But do they have 100 of any one thing? Patterning their work on that of their human classmates, they attempt a tower of wood chips…that falls at 47. Zeke’s attempt to run 100 miles on their rodent wheel fails: “One hundred is a very big number when you’re counting miles.” They find the opposite is true when they take a nap of 100 seconds. For their joint 100-word story, author Zeke reaches 100 words just as his character, Fergus, is grabbed by a hungry monster. At the eleventh hour, a misstep by Fergus and some quick thinking by Zeke mean that the two will have a project after all. Messner and Ross again perfectly straddle the line between easy readers and chapter books, with delightful illustrations showing both wide-angle views and the perspective of the tiny mice breaking up the text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers may have to count to 100 to cool their heels waiting for this clever pair’s next adventure. (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1300-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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