In the third episode of a series that might as well be dubbed “Jake Drake: Problem Solver,” Clements’s fourth-grade narrator again looks back at third grade, in particular an uncomfortable week when he became the subject of a little too much teacherly praise. All Jake does is help his math teacher open a computer program, rinse some brushes in Art, sit quietly on the bus and such—but suddenly he’s golden, getting all-too-public head pats even from fearsome Principal Karp and Mr. Collins, the gym teacher. Worse yet, Jake’s desperate attempts to regain his previous anonymity with rude behavior backfire, making him look even more like a brownnose to his classmates. Fans of Hurwitz’s Aldo or Kline’s Horrible Harry will feel right at home with this easy middle reader, and if the plotting is more labored than in Clements’s stand-alone tales (Frindle, 1996; The Landry News, 1999; etc), his young protagonist shows a winning mix of pride and common sense—plus the courage to share his discomfiture at last with Mrs. Karp. She cleverly gets him off the hook after explaining that the fault lies not with him, but with her and the other grown-ups for not realizing the effects of their preferential treatment. Children aren’t the only readers who might learn something from this. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-83919-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2001

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McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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