A sure hit for jazz fans who like to dance along with their read-alouds.

JAZZ FLY 3

THE CARIBBEAN SEA

From the Jazz Fly series , Vol. 3

A band of insects, speaking Spanish, French, and jazz scat, survives a shipwreck in this third installment of a picture-book series.

The Jazz Bugs—featuring Jazz Fly on drums, Nancy the Gnat on saxophone, Centipede Sam on piano, and Willie the Worm on bass—perform on the cruise ship SS Le Magnifique, with Capt. Cockroach at the helm. The group plays so well that no one notices the thunder in the distance or the rolling of the ship until a storm hits and the vessel crashes on the shoals. With the help of the band, Capt. Cockroach gets the passengers aboard lifeboats. Most of the musicians find safety in a glass bottle until the tempest passes. While much of the adventure involves the band’s waiting for rescue, the story isn’t the highlight here. Gollub’s use of music, especially when the book is accompanied by the included CD or audio download, gives the tale its texture. The author’s phrases don’t always rhyme, which could baffle grown-ups trying to read this work aloud. But the audio enhances the experience, exposing kids to music in 5/4 or 7/8 time. The inclusion of Spanish and French is seamless, especially when pronounced by Gollub and the other performers. Hanke’s bright, eye-catching illustrations are sure child pleasers, and, despite the dangerous storm, her depictions of peril are never too scary for young readers.

A sure hit for jazz fans who like to dance along with their read-alouds.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-889910-54-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tortuga Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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