A solid storytime and lap-read that will amuse with each repeated read.

ZOG AND THE FLYING DOCTORS

Dynamic duo Donaldson and Scheffler (Superworm, 2014, etc.) are back with a tale full of high drama, medical emergencies, and dragon crash landings in this sequel to A Gold Star for Zog (2012).

In this outing, the pair reintroduces readers to the trio of traveling doctors: Gadabout the Great is an expert surgeon, Pearl has the distinction of being both a princess and a physician, and dragon Zog is a fire-breathing ambulance—albeit one that has some trouble with his landings. Flying from kingdom to kingdom and curing the maladies of the magical and nonmagical hoi polloi, the threesome passes Pearl’s uncle’s castle and decides to make a social call. Unfortunately, Pearl’s kingly uncle does not approve of a princess with outside employment. In a page turn, Pearl is transformed from medico to captive in a frilly dress, forced to embroider cushions and arrange flowers. As Gadabout and Zog try to save their friend, the king becomes ill with an unknown ailment. Teamwork saves the day (and cures the king of his misogynist attitude) thanks to Pearl’s medical research and Gadabout’s and Zog’s abilities to gather healing ingredients from past patients. Donaldson’s rhyme scheme is sharp, and fans will immediately recognize Scheffler’s distinctive style. Zog steals the show every time he quietly recovers from his bang-crash-thump landings in the background. The message is noble, but the lack of diversity—all the characters are white—tarnishes the crown.

A solid storytime and lap-read that will amuse with each repeated read. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-13417-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.

HOW TO CATCH A GINGERBREAD MAN

From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more