An endearing, energetic take on chapter books for transitioning readers.

IZZY IN THE DOGHOUSE

From the Izzy series

If your favorite friend was annoyed at you while your single mom was on a business trip, wouldn’t a new puppy make everything feel all right again?

Isabel and Zoë are such favorite friends at school that even their coats, intertwined in their side-by-side cubbies, are best buddies. Izzy and Zoë also share a madcap sense of humor that includes toilet-paper tails and pretend-dirt sandwiches. Sometimes this lands them in the principal’s office, which Zoë hates. Luckily, Izzy’s caring, live-in nanny and loving, adoptive mom determine that Izzy’s exuberant impulsiveness suggests that she has “a lot of love” to spread for just a three-person family, so they get a puppy for her to baby. The dog-adoption process echoes Izzy’s own experience of being adopted, as told to her by her mom. With this title, Adderson, author of the Jasper John Dooley chapter-book series, introduces another series for the age group with a character reminiscent of such icons as Ruby Lu and Clementine. Izzy’s mom presents White, and gap-toothed Izzy has pale skin, straight, black hair, and freckles. Best friend Zoë is a child of color, the school principal is Asian, and Izzy’s nanny is Latinx (cued stereotypically  in part by her extreme fondness for the telenovela Love at First Sight). The short and pithy chapters, believable and specific kid language, and Collier’s spunky illustrations make this a promising kickoff to a new series.

An endearing, energetic take on chapter books for transitioning readers. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77138-732-3

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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