A bright medley of friendship, problem-solving, and identity ideal for emerging readers looking for the next step up from...


From the Bird & Squirrel series , Vol. 3

Best friends Bird and Squirrel embark upon a new graphic-novel adventure, in which they make a new friend and find the dynamics of their friendship changing.

Sky-blue, acorn-hatted Squirrel is nervous. He's afraid of everything—even dust. His best friend, the lemon-yellow, aviator-goggled Bird, is fearless. One day, on a stroll through their woodland home, they spy a bear cub cornered by a vicious pair of wolves. Bird can’t stand to see two against one ("that’s not right,” he declares), so he hatches a plan to pelt the lupine bullies with pine cones. Timid Squirrel however, misfires and accidentally beans poor Bird, knocking him out. Now Bird cannot remember who—or what—he is, and Squirrel is left to protect Bear and Bird from the ferocious wolves. The pair’s established dynamics have now reversed, leaving Bird now fearful and unsure and Squirrel having to step up and muster his courage. Although it’s a rather gentle story of animal amity, Burks has adroitly managed to infuse it with a rollicking pace, cutely quirky characters, and lively illustrations that practically leap off the page, creating a subtle complexity that is usually missing from such buddy tales.

A bright medley of friendship, problem-solving, and identity ideal for emerging readers looking for the next step up from leveled readers. (Graphic fiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-80425-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.


From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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