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RATTY

Shows that kindness and caring can change even the most fixed mindsets.

Hoping to break a terrible curse, a young boy returns to the island home where he was turned into a human-sized rat.

Born on the same day on Fairweather Island, two human babies were placed side by side in a hospital bassinet, only for the baby boy to suddenly transform into a rat. Both infants became startled, the baby girl began to cry, and the rat bit her on the cheek. Now, those babies—Edweena Gup and Ratty Barclay—are nearly 13. Edweena is obsessed with rat extermination, although the island has been free of the rodents for over a century. Hidden from the world and raised by his uncle, Ratty has been on the move all his life. Now he wants to return to the island for his 13th birthday in hopes of lifting the curse that’s led to this isolated life. But it’s not long before he and his uncle run into Edweena, who’s the granddaughter of Barclay Manor’s caretaker. Sensitive and caring Ratty, who wants to become a veterinarian, is a well-developed character, as is Edweena, whose determination ultimately has others’ interests at heart. Environmental messages are subtly woven in as the origins of the curse come to light. Charming illustrations work in tandem with the pacing of the text, especially as events ramp up and the curse spreads, endangering more islanders. Main characters are coded white.

Shows that kindness and caring can change even the most fixed mindsets. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 18, 2024

ISBN: 9780593622483

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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