In the end, this book is too difficult for most of the 7-year-old readers who would like Cilla and features too young a...

CILLA LEE-JENKINS

FUTURE AUTHOR EXTRAORDINAIRE

From the Cilla Lee-Jenkins series , Vol. 1

An aspiring author grapples with change in her family.

Cilla Lee-Jenkins, age 8 ½ and in second grade, has a set of white grandparents, the Jenkinses, whom she sees on Thursdays when her parents work late, and a set of Chinese-American grandparents, the Lees, whom she sees on Wednesdays when her parents go out to eat. Her mom's expecting a baby Cilla calls The Blob. Cilla plans to be an author, and this debut novel purports to be her journal, in which she describes not only what is happening to her now—dreading the new baby and unhappy that the two sets of grandparents don't get along—but tells several stories from her younger days in preschool and kindergarten. This creates a problem. While Cilla's voice is clever, her stories, attitude, and problems are all those of a far younger child than one who could write such a sophisticated account. The heart of the story—Cilla's disappointment that her sister's birth unites the family in ways hers did not—is glossed over, and while Cilla's unhappiness about the new baby feels unrealistically extreme, so too does the speed with which it disappears. Tan, who grew up in a mixed-race family, does a lovely job of showing how Cilla finds joy in both sides of her heritage. Wulfekotte’s soft, black-and-white illustrations appear every few pages.

In the end, this book is too difficult for most of the 7-year-old readers who would like Cilla and features too young a protagonist to interest 10-year-olds ready for books of this length. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-551-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Gentle, encouraging, witty fantasy that may soothe readers suffering from climate anxiety.

THE GOLDEN SWIFT

From the Silver Arrow series , Vol. 2

Children with magical talking steam trains are thrilled by their clever new plan to rescue endangered animals.

Eleven-year-old Kate absolutely adores her secret job—helping animals in need by using the magical locomotive that was a gift from her billionaire wizard uncle. Kate loves riding the Silver Arrow with Uncle Herbert; her brother, Tom; and the talking animals they escort to safe places. But now Uncle Herbert is missing, 9-year-old Tom seems more interested in hapkido than their supernatural train, and Kate’s struggling socially and academically thanks to her eco-anxiety. No matter how many animals she helps, no matter how many adults proclaim that climate change is a critical issue, the environment keeps getting worse. One night Kate discovers another train driving on the magical railroad: The Golden Swift is conducted by her classmate Jag, who thinks rescuing stranded creatures isn’t sufficiently radical. When Kate joins him, she feels more inspired and more righteous than ever before. This time, she’s actually making the world better! Kate’s unhappy discoveries of unintended consequences and the moral complexities of her activism are softened by humor. The snarky banter of the talking locomotive is an understated delight, as is the train constructed with, among others, candy and ice cream cars, an invisible car, and a dojo car. Kate and Tom are White; Jag is described as having dark skin and black hair and possibly being Indian. Charming illustrations enhance the text.

Gentle, encouraging, witty fantasy that may soothe readers suffering from climate anxiety. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-28354-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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