An adventure-filled tale set within a fascinating period of history.

MURPHY, GOLD RUSH DOG

From the Dog Chronicles series

Historical fiction for dog lovers.

Nome, Alaska, 1900, is a hotbed of lawless gold-rush fever and no place for an unaccompanied woman and her 11-year-old daughter, but that is exactly where Sally and her mother find themselves. The story is told from the point of view of Murphy, an abused sled dog who runs away from his owner in Nome and wanders homeless and hungry until Sally, newly arrived from Seattle, encounters him and convinces Mama that Murphy would be good protection for them. Murphy happily settles into his new life as a loved member of the family, and he does his best to protect them, but he is plagued by thoughts of cowardice brought on by his previous owner’s mistreatment. As summer ends, Mama makes plans to leave, finding life in Nome too difficult. But Sally has plans of her own. Taking Murphy, she runs away to find gold, thinking to ease the working grind of her Mama’s life. Readers will feel the thrill of survival on the tundra as Murphy saves Sally from a grizzly, an avalanche and unscrupulous men. Equal parts heart-wrenching and -warming, the story never slides into cloying sentimentality, and its message of the value of love over greed is as subtle as it is powerful.

An adventure-filled tale set within a fascinating period of history.   (historical note, bibliography, further reading) (Historical fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56145-769-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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