Though there’s a plethora of choices in the rodent canon, this shines bright.

THE GREAT ART CAPER

From the Pets on the Loose! series , Vol. 2

Cuddly classroom pets must stop a group of rapacious rodents from ruining the elementary art show in this sequel to The Great Pet Escape (2016).

In the second-grade classroom of Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary lives George Washington, a lovably plump tawny-and-white hamster. GW spends his days palling around with the other class pets, Sunflower the guinea pig and Barry the bunny, and also with his best friend, a pigtailed, white-skinned second-grader named Carina. When Carina’s picture is chosen for the art show as the only second-grade submission, GW is thrilled. But the mischievous mouse Harriet and her murine minions have other plans for the art show, plotting to steal Carina’s picture and having GW’s gang sent away to St. Bart’s Obedience School for Unruly Pets. Can GW and his friends work together to outsmart Harriet before she wrecks the show? This gentle graphic adventure’s warm and inviting illustrations portray snuggleworthy characters resembling stuffed toys brought to life. The animated and adorable menagerie displays a pleasing blend of silliness and good-natured naughtiness, imparting a kind message of friendship without a hint of saccharinity. A sweet surprise ending with equal emphasis on humans and animals sets this apart from many critter tales.

Though there’s a plethora of choices in the rodent canon, this shines bright. (Graphic fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-118-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it.

NOODLEHEADS SEE THE FUTURE

Two thickheaded macaroni noodles prove the old adage: a fool and his firewood are soon parted.

Fools have been called “noodleheads” for centuries, but until recently few have represented the term quite so literally. Mac and Mac aren’t the brightest pieces of pasta in the world, but their hearts are in the right place. Here, the two decide to help their mama out by gathering firewood in hopes that she’ll bake them a cake. As they are attempting to cut the very branch they’re sitting on, a passing meatball points out that they are mere minutes away from bruised bottoms. When his words come to pass, our heroes decide the meatball is clairvoyant and demand to know their future. Drawing on and smoothly weaving together a variety of folk tales, the brief graphic novel describes how its obtuse protagonists single-mindedly seek cake, even as they anticipate death, purchase “firewood seeds” (aka acorns), and accidentally dig their mother a garden. Emergent readers will appreciate the simple text, short chapters, and comics-inspired paneled illustrations. Adults will appreciate the authors’ note, which goes into some detail about each chapter’s folk origins.

Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3673-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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