Emergent readers will enjoy solving the mystery along with these delightful Sherlocks.

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE GOLD RING

From the King & Kayla series , Vol. 7

The dynamic duo of lovable canine detective King and his human, Kayla, returns to solve another mystery.

King and Kayla are playing in the snow with pal Mason when Asia, another friend, joins them, proudly displaying a special gold ring. After the cold forces them inside, Mom puts their wet outer garments in the dryer, and they’re ready for snack time. When Asia discovers that her gold ring is gone, children and dog take the mystery seriously and go into search mode. They retrace their steps, examine every nook and cranny (with some help from Mom, who demonstrates her plumbing skills), and follow up every possibility as they put their well-honed problem-solving skills to the test. King has a few ideas of his own, but he’s frustrated because even Kayla can’t understand his doggie language. He winds up locked in the laundry room, where he spots something shiny in the dryer. The case is closed, to everyone’s delight and relief. King narrates the tale with happy, enthusiastic aplomb, pausing the action frequently to note his many favorite things, mostly food. Butler keeps syntax and vocabulary simple, with brief sentences separated by lots of white space and organized in logical chapters. Meyers’ cartoons illuminate the tale, depicting the body language and expressive faces of all the characters, human and canine, with great animation and adding many touches of humor. Asia, Kayla, and Kayla’s mom present Black, and Mason presents White.

Emergent readers will enjoy solving the mystery along with these delightful Sherlocks. (Early reader/mystery. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-207-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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