Younger readers with intermediate reading skills may have fun with the silliness and the surprises. (Fiction. 7-10)

MARGE IN CHARGE

From the Marge in Charge series , Vol. 1

By the end of their first night with babysitter Marge, 7-year-old Jemima’s 4-year-old brother, Jake, says, “We have a royal babysitter…but we have to babysit her!”

There are three chapters: “Marge Babysits,” “Marge at the Birthday Party,” and “Marge at Large in School.” Black-and-white illustrations in a Quentin Blake–esque style show some children of diverse backgrounds, but the main characters are white, middle-class, British—and stereotypical to a fault. Jemima, who narrates in present tense, is the respectful, obedient older daughter, worried about meeting all the requirements on her mother’s to-do lists; about being on time; about socializing; about Jake’s obstreperous behavior, which she generously calls “naughty.” In the first story, tiny Marge manipulates Jake into doing two things left on Mommy’s list primarily because of Mommy’s ineptness (and Dad’s apparent abdication of parenting): eating broccoli and washing his hair. Marge’s methods range from telling outrageous tales of her supposed previous life as a royal duchess to helping the children create enormous messes in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. When the mess still prevails with the parents five minutes away, there is no Cat in the Hat solution; somehow, the children manage to clean up while Marge falls asleep. Throughout the book, Marge vacillates between outlandish, sometimes-irresponsible behavior and jolly, imaginative storytelling and problem-solving.

Younger readers with intermediate reading skills may have fun with the silliness and the surprises. (Fiction. 7-10) (Fiction7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-266218-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers will enjoy this sequel from a plot perspective and will learn how to play-act a trial, though they may not engage...

THE LEMONADE CRIME

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 2

This sequel to The Lemonade War (2007), picking up just a few days later, focuses on how the fourth graders take justice into their own hands after learning that the main suspect in the case of the missing lemonade-stand money now owns the latest in game-box technology.

Siblings Evan and Jessie (who skipped third grade because of her precocity) are sure Scott Spencer stole the $208 from Evan’s shorts and want revenge, especially as Scott’s new toy makes him the most popular kid in class, despite his personal shortcomings. Jessie’s solution is to orchestrate a full-blown trial by jury after school, while Evan prefers to challenge Scott in basketball. Neither channel proves satisfactory for the two protagonists (whose rational and emotional reactions are followed throughout the third-person narrative), though, ultimately, the matter is resolved. Set during the week of Yom Kippur, the story raises beginning questions of fairness, integrity, sin and atonement. Like John Grisham's Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer (2010), much of the book is taken up with introducing courtroom proceedings for a fourth-grade level of understanding. Chapter headings provide definitions  (“due diligence,” “circumstantial evidence,” etc.) and explanation cards/documents drawn by Jessie are interspersed.

Readers will enjoy this sequel from a plot perspective and will learn how to play-act a trial, though they may not engage with the characters enough to care about how the justice actually pans out. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-27967-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of...

HONEY

Melody Bishop's peaceful life with her widower father is upset when the annoying 6-year-old next door comes home from the beauty parlor with some gossip.

The 10-year-old has already noticed her father's increased distraction and a new tendency to whistle, so when Teeny Nelson reports that "Henry's been bitten by the love bug," Melody is avid to know more. With her best friend, biracial Nick Woo, at her side, she goes to the Bee Hive beauty salon to investigate. What she discovers there rocks her world not once but twice, as salon owner Bee-Bee has information about Melody's mother, who died in childbirth and about whom her father never speaks. Weeks gets the small moments right: Melody's exasperation with Teeny and the way it turns to sympathy when the little girl's mother threatens a spanking; her affectionate resignation when her grandfather, who has emphysema, sneaks out to the garage for a smoke. And Melody's close relationship with her loving father is sweetly evoked. But other elements fail to cohere. Obvious misdirection leads Melody to a critical misunderstanding that never amounts to more than a plot contrivance, and the mystical visions of Bee-Bee's dog, Mo, who has an unknown connection to Melody, strain credulity.

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of nail-polish colors is somewhat amusing. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-46557-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more