Zip to get this Zapped Jack book.

JACK GETS ZAPPED!

From the Jack Book series , Vol. 8

A rad addition to Barnett and Pizzoli’s early readers about Jack the rabbit, the Lady, and Rex the dog.

One rainy day, the Lady (who presents White) and Rex settle in for a nice day of reading. Jack doesn’t join them in this cozy activity, as he’s too busy enjoying his video game, “Rad Kid.” Then in a fantastic twist, lightning strikes, and, as the title foreshadows, Jack gets zapped into the game. An unlikely hero emerges as the Lady picks up the game controls and plays the game to save Zapped Jack, who, after some in-game fun, is defeated by the Boss. Pizzoli cleverly alters his illustrations for the scenes of the game within the book to make them appear pixelated, and Barnett’s funny, controlled text makes the story accessible to emergent readers. The text describing the Lady’s acquisition of gaming skills is particularly chuckleworthy: “You got this! Now go! Hop over that pit! Press A and RIGHT! / Oh. You fell in. // That’s OK! You get three lives. So you have two lives left! Just stomp on this bad guy and— / You died again.” Gaming isn’t vilified in this story, nor is reading elevated as the better activity, which makes it all the more likely that readers who prefer gaming over reading will actually enjoy this title. The backmatter gives directions for drawing Zapped Jack, and readers may well wish there were an accompanying game, too. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

Zip to get this Zapped Jack book. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11401-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A sweet series opener, especially for the cat lovers in the chapter-book set.

KITTY AND THE MOONLIGHT RESCUE

From the Kitty series , Vol. 1

Kitty uses her feline superpowers in this new series.

Kitty, a young girl, wants to be just like her superhero mother, who goes out at night to help people. Unfortunately, Kitty doesn’t feel brave and is afraid of the darkness outside. With her mother gone one night, Kitty puts on her superhero costume. While she is playing pretend, a frantic cat, Figaro, jumps in through her window, looking for Kitty’s mom. Mistaken for a real superhero, Kitty is drawn into an adventure to uncover the mysterious noise coming from the clock tower. With her magic superpowers heightened by the moon, Kitty faces her biggest fear, makes new cat friends, and discovers her own inner superhero. Harrison writes an amusing story of bravery and self-confidence, encouraging newly independent readers with Mom’s words: “Don’t let fear hold you back. You’re braver than you think.” Løvlie sets an incredible scene with her dramatic black-and-white illustrations on almost every page. Multiple pages are entirely black with white text and drawings, immersing the readers in this nighttime story. Included are character introductions and super facts about cats. Kitty, her mom, and her younger brother all have pale skin and straight, black hair; her dad’s hair is lighter.

A sweet series opener, especially for the cat lovers in the chapter-book set. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-293472-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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