More of the same, but here that’s a good thing.

STINK AND THE HAIRY SCARY SPIDER

From the Stink series

Stink returns to battle arachnophobia.

Judy Moody’s little brother, Stink, returns for another scientific adventure, this time battling his long-held fear of spiders. After crafting a jumping origami frog, Stink brings his project to the backyard to give it a test hop. Stink’s frog leaps out of sight, and while looking for it, Stink comes across a hairy, pink-toed spider. A timorous Stink seeks out Judy’s help to find his origami frog, and Judy does him one better: The siblings put in the work to cure Stink of his fear. Those familiar with the Judy Moody and Stink books will find more of the same here, with Reynolds’ broad, round illustrations accompanying McDonald’s charmingly optimistic characters. Newcomers will be able to slide in with ease; there’s no extensive backstory here to wade through—just some quirky kids dealing with a common fear. The reading level is pitched to those just beginning to dip their toes in the chapter-book pool. Judy and Stink are white, but there’s a bit of diversity in the supporting cast. The book includes origami instructions in its end pages.

More of the same, but here that’s a good thing. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0920-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

TIGER BOY

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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