Parents hoping to take their kids on fishing trips will find some fun, rhyming encouragement here.

WALTER THE WILY WALLEYE

A clever fish narrates this playful, picture-book ode to the “game” of fishing.

Walter the Wily Walleye lives in a lake, “waiting for you to catch me, a game I play called fishing.” He describes his own talents—including his great night vision, which helps him catch minnows—as well as offering readers advice on how to fish. Although Walter acknowledges that he loves to hide from anyone who’s fishing, he prefers it when children try to catch him, because he likes their laughter. Debut author Allen’s smoothly rhyming prose plays with the idea of schools of fish being places of learning where pupils are taught not to take food from strangers; however, this contradicts Walter’s request for children to bring him minnows or worms. The rhymes also introduce new vocabulary words for emerging readers (“elusive,” “wily”). Alberts creates images of realistic-looking fish with human characteristics; in one dynamic image, Walter grabs onto a child’s line with his fin, tricking the boy into thinking Walter is hooked. Pale-skinned, mostly male human anglers appear, and some of the fish feature overdone lipstick and eyeshadow as gender indicators. Allen also delicately avoids revealing what would happen to Walter if he were actually hooked.

Parents hoping to take their kids on fishing trips will find some fun, rhyming encouragement here.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-10292-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fishing Quest Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

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A satisfying, winning read.

Our Verdict

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BOOKED

Nick Hall is a bright eighth-grader who would rather do anything other than pay attention in class.

Instead he daydreams about soccer, a girl he likes, and an upcoming soccer tournament. His linguistics-professor father carefully watches his educational progress, requiring extra reading and word study, much to Nick’s chagrin and protest. Fortunately, his best friend, Coby, shares his passion for soccer—and, sadly, the unwanted attention of twin bullies in their school. Nick senses something is going on with his parents, but their announcement that they are separating is an unexpected blow: “it’s like a bombshell / drops / right in the center / of your heart / and it splatters / all across your life.” The stress leads to counseling, and his life is further complicated by injury and emergency surgery. His soccer dream derailed, Nick turns to the books he has avoided and finds more than he expected. Alexander’s highly anticipated follow-up to Newbery-winning The Crossover is a reflective narrative, with little of the first book’s explosive energy. What the mostly free-verse novel does have is a likable protagonist, great wordplay, solid teen and adult secondary characters, and a clear picture of the challenges young people face when self-identity clashes with parental expectations. The soccer scenes are vivid and will make readers wish for more, but the depiction of Nick as he unlocks his inner reader is smooth and believable.

A satisfying, winning read. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-57098-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood.

REBOUND

In this prequel to Newbery Award–winning The Crossover (2014), Alexander revisits previous themes and formats while exploring new ones.

For Charlie Bell, the future father of The Crossover’s Jordan and Josh, his father’s death alters his relationship with his mother and causes him to avoid what reminds him of his dad. At first, he’s just withdrawn, but after he steals from a neighbor, his mother packs a reluctant Charlie off to his grandparents near Washington, D.C., for the summer. His grandfather works part-time at a Boys and Girls Club where his cousin Roxie is a star basketball player. Despite his protests, she draws him into the game. His time with his grandparents deepens Charlie’s understanding of his father, and he begins to heal. “I feel / a little more normal, / like maybe he’s still here, / … in a / as long as I remember him / he’s still right here / in my heart / kind of way.” Once again, Alexander has given readers an African-American protagonist to cheer. He is surrounded by a strong supporting cast, especially two brilliant female characters, his friend CJ and his cousin Roxie, as well as his feisty and wise granddaddy. Music and cultural references from the late 1980s add authenticity. The novel in verse is enhanced by Anyabwile’s art, which reinforces Charlie’s love for comics.

An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood. (Historical verse fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-86813-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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