ROLY-POLIES

A multitalented family of googly-eyed bugs lives underneath the Grand Variety Theatre. They're called roly-polies; or, more properly, the Poly family. They're only an inch tall, with big eyes, a snout, feelers and 16 legs. (The two each stands on wear shoes.) Carretero's breakdown of roly-poly anatomy resembles a lab chart. For ease of movement, they can roll up into a ball. Like their aboveground human counterparts, the roly-polies are savvy performers, each with unique, brightly colored ensembles. They include: Maggie the Mouth, a captivating storyteller; Castor and Eurydice, dramatic superstars of the stage; lounge singer Ramon Bonbon, who sports a Salvador Dalí moustache; dancer Glamorous Gabrielle; magicians Izzy and Whizzy; and many more. One day, a visitor changes their lives forever. A flamboyant flea named Hopping Henrietta arrives on a messenger pigeon all the way from Moscow and exhorts the roly-polies to see the world as travelling performers. Henrietta is an artists' agent, you see. At last, the Poly family is able to fulfill great-great Grandpa's dream to have their own troupe! Carretero's imagination is loopy and delicious; her cheeky, multi-colored illustrations have a dash of Gahan Wilson. As the bulk of the book is set up and description of the different bugs, it's awfully light on actual story. An excess of whimsy doesn't make up for absence of plot. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-84-938240-1-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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