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THEY CALL ME NO SAM!

Silly, swift, and a surefire success.

A dog who sees the world through his own unique lens battles evil forces to protect his newfound family—and inadvertently succeeds.

In a “Dear Diary” format, Sam the pug relates his adventures over the course of 20 eventful days, during which he runs away from “naked-monkey-thing” owner Mike, ends up at the shelter, and gets adopted by the Peterson family, who have a 12-year-old son named Justin. Meanwhile, Sam is suspicious of Justin’s new friend, Phoebe, but perceives actual villains Drago and Grisha as his friends, even though they’re trying to steal the Peterson parents’ lab secrets. Many of Sam’s fears will be humorous to readers, such as the “deadly assassination robot” (the vacuum) and the Ghost Wolf (Sam’s own reflection in a sliding glass door). No matter how misguided and oblivious he is, Sam’s heart is in the right place, however, and he manages to protect his family. He’s also able to smell people’s emotions, knows when Justin is lonely, and tries to be a good companion. Readers will find plenty of humor—and a few gross-out moments, as when the Petersons’ cat makes “little snack treats” in his “magic sand oven.” The grayscale cartoon illustrations throughout are especially funny and often spotlight the difference between Sam’s worldview and reality. Most main characters read white; the bad guys are coded as Eastern Europeans who speak a language other than English.

Silly, swift, and a surefire success. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9780358612902

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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