Louise is a feisty gal with the best of intentions. She just “accidentally a-little-bit” messes everything up.


From the Louise Trapeze series , Vol. 2

Louise Trapeze is back (Louise Trapeze Is Totally 100% Fearless, 2015), longing to be more mature than ever.

Everyone at the Sweet Potato Traveling Circus Troupe has a job to do. Everyone, that is, except Louise. She does have a few Important Circus Jobs that she shares with her best friend, Stella, but it is not the same as having her very own grown-up responsibility. So she sets off to prove how dependable she can be. Earnest mistakes, such as causing a large “spaghetti-mountain spill” or putting too much oil on Clara Bear’s unicycle, pile up. But perhaps babysitting the juggling chickens will be her chance. All she needs to do is feed them a small snack while their trainer is gone. What could possibly go wrong? As Louise says—“Cheeze Louise and holy trapeze!”—oh so much. Luckily, Louise learns that asking for help is sometimes the most responsible, grown-up thing one can do. While the well-meaning little girl who makes mistakes and has idiosyncratic speech patterns is hardly new to the shelves, the circus setting distinguishes Ostow’s offering. Purple accents in the design and Barrager’s squiggle sketch vignettes enliven this second big-top tale, though they display very little ethnic variation among the troupe.

Louise is a feisty gal with the best of intentions. She just “accidentally a-little-bit” messes everything up. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49743-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.


If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Young readers with a fondness for amphibians will jump all over this one. (Fiction. 6-8)


From the Stink series , Vol. 8

Stink Moody, younger brother of Judy, hops into the spotlight with a common problem—and  one that’s a bit more unusual.

Stink would like to advance in his swimming lessons, but he’s afraid to put his face underwater and seems doomed to remain a Polliwog forever. Fortunately, he’s distracted from that issue by the sudden appearance around town—in some surprising places—of a whole lot of real frogs, a few of which are deformed. These frogs give McDonald the opportunity to offer a little information, through the voice of a nature-center guide, on how adverse environmental conditions can influence frog development. Stink memorizes a variety of frog sounds, enabling him to participate in a frog count at a local pond. Somehow, he becomes convinced that he’s turning into a frog himself, but that might just make it possible for him to swim underwater. Brief, cheery, oversized text and lot of cartoonish black-and-white illustrations (only some of which were available for review) make this a good choice for newly independent readers. A minor issue is that the text informs readers that it is early spring; even in Virginia, that’s a little early for Stink to be taking swimming lessons in an outdoor pool, as indicated in the illustrations.

Young readers with a fondness for amphibians will jump all over this one. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6140-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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