Cheeky Lola is a well-balanced combination of exuberance and naïve vulnerability that charms and entertains.

LAST-BUT-NOT-LEAST LOLA AND A KNOT THE SIZE OF TEXAS

From the Last-But-Not-Least Lola series , Vol. 4

Hilarious Lola has a lot of problems, but the very biggest one—growing all the time—is the immense knot of snarled hair at the back of her head. What is a girl to do?

Lola’s strategy is to ignore it if at all possible. Getting that knot out is going to hurt. The very thought of it makes her wince (worry and squint at the same time). The trouble is her hair is naturally curly, and if it doesn’t get properly brushed, as when her parents are too busy, then knots g-r-o-w. Another thing about Lola, who is white and Jewish but shares an elementary school class with a multicultural group, is that she likes to be kind, so she invites two of her second-grade classmates to drop their dogs off at her house so she can watch them over the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Even she knows that second dog is going to be a problem. Being kind also makes it very hard to tell one of her two competing grandmothers that her pumpkin pie tastes like “licking a candle.” Lola’s distinct, effervescent first-person narration includes the occasional definition—“Deluxe means you wish you had one”—and other funny thoughts that early grade school readers (and grown-ups) will laugh at. Hoppe’s numerous charming illustrations enrich the presentation.

Cheeky Lola is a well-balanced combination of exuberance and naïve vulnerability that charms and entertains. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62979-324-5

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An effective early chapter book conveyed in a slightly overdone gag.

DEAR BEAST

Epistolary dispatches from the eternal canine/feline feud.

Simon the cat is angry. He had done a good job taking care of his boy, Andy, but now that Andy’s parents are divorced, a dog named Baxter has moved into Andy’s dad’s house. Simon believes that there isn’t enough room in Andy’s life for two furry friends, so he uses the power of the pen to get Baxter to move out. Inventively for the early-chapter-book format, the story is told in letters written back and forth; Simon’s are impeccably spelled on personalized stationery while Baxter’s spelling slowly improves through the letters he scrawls on scraps of paper. A few other animals make appearances—a puffy-lipped goldfish who for some reason punctuates her letter with “Blub…blub…” seems to be the only female character (cued through stereotypical use of eyelashes and red lipstick), and a mustachioed snail ferries the mail to and fro. White-appearing Andy is seen playing with both animals as a visual background to the text, as is his friend Noah (a dark-skinned child who perhaps should not be nicknamed “N Man”). Cat lovers will appreciate Simon’s prickliness while dog aficionados will likely enjoy Baxter’s obtuse enthusiasm, and all readers will learn about the time and patience it takes to overcome conflict and jealousy with someone you dislike.

An effective early chapter book conveyed in a slightly overdone gag. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4492-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A second scintillating celebration of personal style and dad-daughter DIY.

THE ONE AND ONLY SPARKELLA MAKES A PLAN

From the Sparkella series , Vol. 2

Reality puts only a temporary damper on big, glittery plans for a sleepover castle.

New school friend Tam, who shared bánh mi at lunch in The One and Only Sparkella (2021), is arriving in two hours, and before that Sparkella needs to make a castle “fit for two royal highnesses.” Unfortunately, even with Dad’s help, the flimsy cardboard construction collapses as soon as Sparkella climbs inside to test it. What to do? After giving the pouting princess some personal time in the garage, Dad points the way: “I think you have to take what you have and make it SPARKLE like only you can.” And, indeed, by the time brown-skinned “Tam, Queen of Kittens” is dropped off by her grandma, a pair of folding tables have been transformed with paint, wrapping paper, and colorful fabrics into the sparkliest castle ever! Laying on saturated colors and sprays of tiny stars with a lavish hand, Barnes depicts the two young “royals” in flamboyantly decorated settings—even Dad’s motorcycle is a dazzling confection awash in bows, and Dad himself, light-skinned like Sparkella, isn’t the least decorative element considering his fondness for sporting a purple boa and outrageous eyewear when occasion demands. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A second scintillating celebration of personal style and dad-daughter DIY. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-75076-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more