Everyday magic fails to create a spark in this book

STOOP SALE TREASURE

From the Hand-me-Down Magic series , Vol. 1

Haydu introduces two young cousins in a new chapter-book series for young readers.

Del (short for Delfina) and Alma are cousins, best friends, and, as of moments ago, neighbors on 23rd Avenue. Alma and her family have moved away from their old lakeside home to the brick walk-up apartment building where Alma’s father’s side of the family lives in the city. On the ground level is the Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe, and on the second, third, and fourth floors are Abuelita, Titi, cousins, and more of their Puerto Rican family. When Abuelita takes the girls to a stoop sale, Del finds dangling clip-on earrings and is promptly convinced that they are magical. After a couple flawless, magical days (readers might call them just lucky), Alma is fed up with Del’s earrings and crushingly denies their magic. Convinced the earrings are causing them to fight, Alma decides to steal them and puts them out on the stoop for a passerby to take. Readers learn along the way that Alma feels “left out of” her own family, having lived apart from the rest of them for most of her life. They may well wonder why Alma’s family has moved, but the story focuses on the conflict between the cousins. Told in alternating third-person with minimal Spanish interspersed, the actual plot lacks luster, and the focus on mundane details slows the book’s pacing. Perhaps, with the scene now set, the series’ next volume will pick up. Uribe’s grayscale depictions are essential companions, depicting Del with dark skin and Alma as pale.

Everyday magic fails to create a spark in this book . (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-287825-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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