WALTER

THE STORY OF A RAT

A small but very nearly perfect gem depicts the growing friendship between a literarily-minded rat and an aging author of children’s books. Walter himself is a rat of elder years, one who delights in the solitary habits and library of the woman—Miss Pomeroy—in whose house he dwells. His uncanny ability to read has inevitably kept him apart from other rats, but in Miss Pomeroy, he sees a kindred soul—until he discovers that she writes, not about rats, but about mice. Wersba has created in Walter (he names himself after Sir Walter Scott) a complex character, whose essential rattiness coexists with his love of words, one who both takes care to hide his droppings and simultaneously cannot fathom why humans revile his kind. He encounters literature with all the wonder of an innocent, reveling in words he can only partially understand. The correspondence that begins between Walter and Miss Pomeroy reveals two prickly individuals, both lonely, both willing to overlook the other’s signal flaws in their acknowledgement of a common ground. Funny and poignant by turns, here’s a sweetly quirky love story of letters. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2005

ISBN: 1-932425-41-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2005

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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LUNCH MONEY

Budding billionaire Greg Kenton has a knack for making money and a serious rival. When he issues his first Chunky Comic Book at the beginning of sixth grade, his neighbor and classmate Maura Shaw produces an alternative. Their quarrel draws the attention of the principal, who bans comics from the school. But when they notice all the other commercial messages in their school, they take their cause to the local school committee. Without belaboring his point, Clements takes on product placement in schools and the need for wealth. “Most people can only use one bathroom at a time,” says Greg’s math teacher, Mr. Z. Greg gets the message; middle-grade readers may ignore it in favor of the delightful spectacle of Greg’s ultimate economic success, a pleasing result for the effort this up-and-coming young businessman puts into his work. Clements weaves intriguing information about comic book illustration into this entertaining, smoothly written story. Selznick’s accompanying black-and-white drawings have the appearance of sketches Greg might have made himself. This hits the jackpot. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-86683-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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