Equally suitable for shared or solitary reading and hard to resist either way.

READ REVIEW

ASTONISHING ANIMALS

From the Record Breakers series

A cranked-up collection of animal facts bookended by big, startling pop-ups of toothy ocean predators.

Going for the gusto from first to last, every inch of this souped-up survey is packed with clamorous claims that caption pop-ups or crawl over and under flaps of diverse shape and size. Arranged around a great white shark’s jagged maw, which lurches toward viewers, melodramatic painted images of over a dozen creatures dubbed “MOST DEADLY!” glare up, each identified with titillating menace: “BRAZILIAN WANDERING SPIDER. This is the most venomous spider in the world! It likes to hide in people’s clothes and shoes.” Other topical spreads gather largest to smallest, fastest to slowest, amazing animal senses, “Egg-streme Eggs,” and a closing miscellany of “Weird and Wonderful!” hangers-on highlighted by an in-your-face look at an anglerfish’s jagged dentifrice. It may be loud, it may be overwhelming, but it’s also strangely compelling, and readers may find themselves going back and forth for more: “A Madagascan Hawk Moth’s tongue is four times as long as your middle finger!” Companion Mechanical Marvels publishes simultaneously and with equal volume.

Equally suitable for shared or solitary reading and hard to resist either way. (Pop-up nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0016-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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