Fans will be happy more adventures are in the offing.

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MR. PENGUIN AND THE FORTRESS OF SECRETS

From the Mr. Penguin series , Vol. 2

Mr. Penguin and his intrepid band face adventure once more following series opener Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure (2019).

Adventurer Mr. Penguin is once again joined by Colin the kung fu spider, the handy Edith Hedge (a human with an elastic definition of borrowing), and silent pigeon Gordon on a mysterious mission. While attempting to recover the Enigma Stone for Professor Stout-Girdle, the group crash-lands their—urm, borrowed plane on a mountaintop near the tiny snowbound town of Schneedorf-on-the-Peak. Siblings Dieter and Lisle Strudel rescue them from a certain snowy demise and then ask their assistance. There are strange goings-on in the village (all the rodents are vanishing), and the abandoned fortress built by Grandfather Grimm has suddenly come back to life. Can the two occurrences be connected? Can the adventurers and their new kid friends find and rescue the rodents of the town in time for the 32nd International Rodent Games? Who is Dr. Mesmero, and what is her diabolical plan? And will Mr. Penguin ever see Cityville again…or get another fish finger sandwich? Mr. Penguin’s second caper is as silly as the first, and as disappointing in its casting of the only apparent human of color—Edith—as a thief. Pages from Dr. Mesmero’s journal, black-and-white illustrations with pops of orange, and occasional orange pages break up the short chapters.

Fans will be happy more adventures are in the offing. (Adventure. 6-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-130-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Thought-provoking and charming.

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THE WILD ROBOT

A sophisticated robot—with the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smell—is washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500.

When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environment—not easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz’s benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions—and readers—with hope.

Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38199-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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