Gentle fun that prioritizes its readers’ needs.

A MAGIC SPARK

From the Fairylight Friends series , Vol. 1

Three young fairies have short adventures in this early chapter-book series opener.

Artistic Ruby, speedster Iris, and nurturing Pip go on a fairy school field trip, visiting the Crystal Pool, where each glimpses a hint of their special magic. In the second story, Pip drops by as Ruby bakes a cake (discovering her artistic magic at the decorating stage), with excuses for why he can’t help her with each task—before being comedically cornered into doing the dishes in order to get to eat some. In the third, Iris attempts to fly to space to catch a star—using her speedy magic—before tiring out and using her coat to parachute back to her friends. In the fourth, Iris struggles to find patience as Pip waits for a seed to sprout only for Pip’s plant-magic to kick in big. Finally, the trio plans a surprise party for their teacher to show off their new magic. Short, simple sentences make up the brief narration (never more than three sentences of exposition per page), complemented by short dialogue in speech balloons. The equally simple plotlines are easily digested by emerging independent readers and free of conflict or tension. Full-color art capitalizes on lively, expressive body language for clear, distinct characterization. Ruby and their teacher have dark-brown skin and curly hair; Iris has medium-brown skin and blue hair; Pip’s White.

Gentle fun that prioritizes its readers’ needs. (guide to drawing Ruby, story prompt) (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59652-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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