A hit for dinosaur fans in the toddler set.

MY FIRST DINO-BASEBALL

From the Dino-Sports series

Dinos play ball!

In this board-book companion to Wheeler and Gott’s earlier Dino-Sports picture-book series, readers land smack-dab in the middle of an exhilarating baseball game featuring dinosaur characters. The opening pages read “Leather mitts. // Dino-bat. // Cleats on feet. // Baseball hat,” as the illustrations show a play-by-play: a Triceratops on the mound gearing up for a pitch; a hitter (a Baryonyx?) loading the bat, launching a shot, and running the bases; and two outfielders frantically returning the ball to the infield for the out. In this brisk fashion, the face-off between the herbivorous Green Sox and the carnivorous Rib-Eye Reds unfolds. There isn’t room in the brief text to depict a full nine innings, though both teams are shown playing offense and defense. At one point, Gott capitalizes on the sheer size of some dinosaurs by humorously placing what looks to be a towering Apatosaurus in the outfield. Later, this same gentle giant scores a run, delivering what some may see as an unlikely win for the plant-eating Sox. The spare, rhyming text, action-packed narrative, and colorful digital art combine for toddler-friendly fare. What could have read as an awkward switch to the past tense in one instance (“Pitcher throws. // Dino missed. // Try again. // Dino hits!”) is eased by Gott’s visual interpretation showing the baseball in the catcher’s mitt after the small dinosaur up to bat misses it.

A hit for dinosaur fans in the toddler set. (Board book. 0-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72844-614-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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