A good choice for pet lovers and those who are dealing with uncertain family dynamics

RUCKUS

From the Orca Echoes series

Things are hard for middle grader Reece, with his parents newly split up and Ruckus, his young, energetic, and appropriately named Jack Russell terrier, proving to be a behavioral challenge.

The final straw is when Ruckus eats Reece’s mom’s diamond earrings. Will he be able to pass them, or might it make him terribly sick? Reece is tasked with pushing all of Ruckus’ poop through a sieve in an effort to recover the missing jewels—a storyline with a significant ick factor that’s sure to appeal to the young intended audience. Meanwhile Reece frets about his parents’ uncertain relationship and his rising worry that his mom will return Ruckus to the breeder. Although this is a brief tale, the characters all are believably depicted, and the theme of a family in flux is pertinent for many potential readers. Elmquist keeps the story real: Reece’s parents aren’t likely to reunite, but he begins to develop some understanding of their individual needs, and Ruckus is given an outlet for his boundless energy, making for an optimistic conclusion. Parkins’ detailed illustrations are particularly attractive and break up the brief chapters, making this an inviting read for those newly transitioned to chapter books. They depict Reece and his family as white.

A good choice for pet lovers and those who are dealing with uncertain family dynamics . (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1795-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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