A winsome tale of a dog in need of friends and just the boys who can solve that problem.

EVEN MORE AWESOME

From the Waylon! series , Vol. 2

Waylon has an extremely pressing problem: he has to find a home for a friendly but undistinguished mutt, Eddy, before the dog is sent to a distant animal shelter.

Like many 10-year-olds, he has some bright—but improbable—ideas. Perhaps, if he could build one, the dog could live in an igloo. There’s plenty of snow in Boston to make one. He collaborates with his not-quite-a-friend, Baxter, who’s just as concerned about Eddy and could be a friend, if Waylon would let him. Waylon, in his analytical way, has decided that Baxter might have dangerous criminal tendencies. Actually, Baxter’s mildly nefarious scheming is just his way of figuring out how criminals think, since he fully intends to grow and become a criminologist. As the two boys explore (with a little guidance from loving parents) what it means to be a friend and how they can somehow help Eddy in a responsible way, their friendship believably grows and strengthens. The feel-good conclusion would probably never happen in the real world, but it is just right for the audience. As in Waylon’s first outing, an amusing sprinkling of the curious scientific information that occupies his thoughts is included, along with Frazee’s frequent, attractive illustrations, in which both Waylon and Baxter are depicted with paper-white skin.

A winsome tale of a dog in need of friends and just the boys who can solve that problem. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0153-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is...

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  • New York Times Bestseller

CRENSHAW

Applegate tackles homelessness in her first novel since 2013 Newbery winner The One and Only Ivan.

Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is nevertheless a somberly affecting one . (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04323-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Another uproarious romp that explores what it is to be good as well as do good.

THE BAD GUYS IN MISSION UNPLUCKABLE

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 2

The foursome of reformed villains returns with a new mission and new team member in a continued effort to repair their reputations in Blabey's (The Bad Guys, 2017) rollicking sequel.

This second installment opens with our would-be heroes, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Piranha, fresh from their bold liberation of the local pound, finding that the media is not spinning in their favor. Accused of terrorizing rather than rescuing, the group (at least Mr. Wolf) refuses to admit defeat—"We're the GOOD GUYS here!"—and begins planning a new mission to free innocent chickens from their deplorable confinement in the Sunnyside Chicken Farm. But if the team can't work together—something all the more difficult with the team a little panicked by the addition of Legs (a friendly, tech-genius tarantula) and one of the group suspiciously excited to greet the chickens—a rescue mission may be all but impossible. Despite some language devaluing of mental diversity (“freak out,” “loco,” etc.) that may turn some readers off, Blabey once again deploys moral ambiguity to overall success, challenging fear as a justification for prejudice and mistakes as reasons to give up. The narrative has lost no comic momentum from first to second book, juxtaposing classic riffs on Mission Impossible and new visual gags unique to these delightfully wry characters.

Another uproarious romp that explores what it is to be good as well as do good. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91241-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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