cover image Russell Sprouts

Russell Sprouts

Johanna Hurwitz. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (68pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07165-3

Bright, ingenuous Russell of Rip Roaring Russell and Russell Rides Again is now in first grade. Like his female literary counterpartBeverly Cleary's RamonaRussell experiences life fully, puzzling over its ironies and contradictions. A new word he picked up at school, for instance, turns out to be a bad word that his mother forbids him to use. Russell is greatly surprised: How can a word be bad? When his report card reflects high marks in everything but Behavior (he calls out without raising his hand) Russell becomes frustrated. Angry with his parents for transgressions that loom large in his eyes, Russell makes them a report card, checking Needs Improvement under all five categories of ""TV, Cookys, Presnts, Bed Time, and Yelling.stet'' Hurwitz portrays the everyday events of childhood with an appealing blend of humor and realism. The curiosity, impatience, urgency and sincerity of a likable 6-year-old shine forth from these pages. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 5-8. (September)