A sweet, undersea-set testament to the importance of teamwork.

THE SUNKEN SHIP

From the Mermaid Days series , Vol. 1

Anthropomorphic sea creatures and quirky science facts create a fantasy world for beginning readers.

Vera, a mermaid with brown skin, dark pigtails, and purple scales, introduces readers to the residents of the underwater town of Tidal Grove, among them Beaker, part octopus and light-skinned with dark hair; Frond, brown-skinned with cornrows tied in a topknot and part jellyfish; and Cuttle, who has light skin and hair above a beige cuttlebone. Mr. Burbles, the Tidal Grove librarian, who is light-skinned and part frog, breaks the fourth wall to insert an unusual science fact on a “Did You Know?” page. That becomes the basis for the dilemma in the second chapter: Beaker’s eight legs seem to want to operate independently. Finally, in the third chapter the friends work together to recover a large pearl from a sunken ship but get stuck in the process only to realize that working together is their best bet. Told primarily through dialogue, with color-coded speech bubbles, this beginning reader features simple, direct language, uncluttered but fanciful illustrations, and interesting problems for friends to overcome together. While the stories are somewhat predictable, with obvious lessons about the value of cooperation, youngsters still mastering their reading skills, especially those who like a blend of facts and fantasy, should find it appealing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, undersea-set testament to the importance of teamwork. (Beginning reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-79460-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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