A dog-narrated adventure for young readers full of action, heart and heroics.

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ESCAPE FROM KILLARNEY

An action adventure about two kids and their dog surviving in the wilderness.

A family camping adventure in the Ontario wilderness becomes a struggle for survival in Graham’s (What is Growing Out of Your Ear?, 2014) middle-grade novel. Hiking with their parents, Graham and his sister, Evelyn, mistakenly get separated after chasing after the family dog, Toby. Out in the wilderness by themselves, they must keep their wits about them as they encounter dangerous predators. As Graham and Evelyn find their way back to their mysteriously abandoned campsite, Toby wonders whether the strange woodsman Graham saw earlier has possibly done something to their parents. But more pressing dangers await: The wolf they encountered earlier is back, and there are more deadly creatures in the wild, including rattlesnakes. In the tense conclusion, Graham races to save his sister from a snakebite; Toby tries to protect his family from the wolf, and the woodsman’s true character is revealed. The action of the novel is intense and age-appropriate as Graham and Evelyn face down various threats. Narrated by the dog, the author adds a sense of fun and humor to the otherwise scary events. For example, when Evelyn needs to go to the bathroom and her mother searches their packs for toilet paper, Toby tries to offer his own advice: “Watch this, Evelyn. I try to get her attention by standing against a tree right in front of her. I lift my leg and, presto! Back to basics.” The success of Toby as a narrator comes from the balance of his canine and human qualities; as a dog, he chases loons, loves kibble and licks faces, but as a narrator, he offers descriptions of the action and insights into characters. Together with his amiable character and strong voice, Toby is a real, three-dimensional character; young readers will be drawn in by the dog’s big heart and heroic spirit. The human characters are just as compelling. Evelyn shows herself to be a capable, smart young girl, taking care of her brother when he breaks his arm, and Graham is a thoughtful older brother.

A dog-narrated adventure for young readers full of action, heart and heroics.

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496923011

Page Count: 110

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2014

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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