Both a hilarious spoof of a noir novel and a clever comment on modern punctuation misuse



Lazar and MacDonald continue the relentless puns and fun with letters of 7 Ate 9 (2017), framed, like its predecessor, in the style of a mid-20th-century detective novel.

Private I, an actual letter I with little arms and legs, is dozing in his office when Question Mark and a rather shifty-looking Exclamation rush in to inform him that all the uppercase letters are missing, a surprising event in Capital City (geddit?!). No half-wit, I realizes that he is the “last capital letter standing” and resolves to take on the case. Chaos has erupted in the city, and random lowercase letters and punctuation run riot. I discovers that his favorite waitress, B has not shown up for work in the Café Uno—now known as “afé no” due to the dearth of uppercase letters. I takes the train out to Cursive Loop and finds the missing capitals all stuck up on a movie theater’s marquee, placed there by Exclamation, who, according to B, “promised to put us all in the movies.” Exclamation’s explanation is a subtle dig at overuse of this symbol: As he says, “Capital letters are always calling me…YES, HA, OMG!” Exclamation is arrested by the Grammar Police and put away for a “short sentence.” MacDonald’s illustrations, with classic typesets and hints of the Manhattan skyline, perfectly capture the retro mood and comedy of the concept.

Both a hilarious spoof of a noir novel and a clever comment on modern punctuation misuse . (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02765-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)



Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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In a word, a feast for the eyes, brain, and artistic imagination.


Words and pictures connect in surprising, stimulating ways.

Talk about painting with words. Author/illustrator Paschkis plays with them, too, and encourages readers to do likewise. In the process, she explores the elasticity and seemingly endless possibilities of language. The vividly colored, wittily detailed, folk-style paintings on double-page spreads organically incorporate words into the artwork in wondrous, creative ways. Words frequently repeat in different sizes and colors; illustrated images include words that sound or are shaped like them, are variations of them, rhyme or nearly rhyme with them, sort of resemble them, are sort of spelled like them, etc. A bouquet of flowers in a vase sports roses exuding the scents of slumber, sultry, shush, and other evocative words beginning with S; on a daisy’s petals readers find dizzy, doozy, lazy, jazzy; lief, leap, life, and more decorate the leaves. Delightful words—many of which readers won’t know, and that’s OK—flex vocabulary and spelling muscles to the max and also enhance readers’ visual and auditory senses when the pictures are taken in. Furthermore, the spreads are connected to thought-provoking questions. Some inspired the paintings, or vice versa, and themselves contain examples of wordplay. Persons depicted have diverse skin tones. The book makes a great springboard for creative-thinking activities in writing and art units in classroom and library programs. Keep dictionaries handy. Endpapers abound with swirling words readers can savor (and look up).

In a word, a feast for the eyes, brain, and artistic imagination. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59270-353-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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