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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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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