Gears, robots, color theory, and color blindness mesh nicely in this school-and-friendship tale.

ADA LACE SEES RED

From the Ada Lace series , Vol. 2

Inventor-in-training Ada Lace discovers that not everyone sees the world as she does.

In this second episode of a STEM-focused chapter-book series, third-grader Ada has a problem. She can’t do the art assignments involving techniques that use color. Worse, the school art teacher is her father. Failing in school is bad enough; disappointing her artistic parents is worse. Unlike her parents and her good friend Nina, Ada’s strengths lie in science and technology. She’s been constructing a robot she’s named George. Kindly Mr. Peebles, an inventor living nearby, offers help and encouragement. Ada’s art problem is a good robotics challenge. Using photoresistors, Ada gives George the capacity to paint paintings for her school assignments and for the audience at an under-12 robotics competition. Meanwhile, seeing that Ada has difficulty distinguishing different color shades, Nina helps her figure out why. Ada and her parents are all relieved to have an explanation for her uncharacteristic school difficulties. Illustrations portray Ada and her family as white, Nina as Southeast Asian, and Mr. Peebles as black. Ada’s self-portrait, an important plot point, looks quite different in Kurilla’s illustration from what’s described in the text, but readers will be drawn in by Ada’s real issues and satisfied by the resolution.

Gears, robots, color theory, and color blindness mesh nicely in this school-and-friendship tale. (afterword) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8602-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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 plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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