Fancy or not, this quick read is amusing.

READ REVIEW

MEGABAT AND FANCY CAT

From the Megabat series , Vol. 2

Megabat has a new fancy feline foe in this sequel.

It’s Megabat’s first Christmas in Canada, and he is excited to open presents and play with new toys. When his human best friend, Daniel, is presented with his final gift, a cat, Megabat’s Christmas is ruined. Priscilla is a purebred chocolate seal point Birman, and Daniel instantly adores her. Megabat and his pigeon friend, Birdgirl, already intent on thwarting the “puffer rats” (“They’re actually called squirrels,” says Daniel) who keep taking all the birdseed, must now devise a scheme to rid themselves of Priscilla. Plan after plan causes ever more chaos (and laughter), and Megabat worries Daniel loves the cat more than him. But as the New Year approaches, Priscilla proves there might be more to her than just fanciness. Humphrey writes a fun sequel, with a message that love can grow, enabling multiple friendships. As in the first book, Megabat is the only animal that speaks, which is puzzling. Additionally, his idiosyncratic English (“Stopping that!” he scold. “Yours will ruining the decorations before they dries!”) takes some getting used to. Reich’s black-and-white illustrations add delight and detail. Daniel’s heritage is Japanese.

Fancy or not, this quick read is amusing. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6259-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Sweetly low-key and totally accessible.

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THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER

Billy Miller’s second-grade year is quietly spectacular in a wonderfully ordinary way.

Billy’s year begins with his worry over the lump on his head, a souvenir of a dramatic summer fall onto concrete: Will he be up to the challenges his new teacher promises in her letter to students? Quickly overshadowing that worry, however, is a diplomatic crisis over whether he has somehow offended Ms. Silver on the first day of school. Four sections—Teacher, Father, Sister and Mother—offer different and essential focal points for Billy’s life, allowing both him and readers to explore several varieties of creative endeavor, small adventures, and, especially, both challenges and successful problem-solving. The wonderfully self-possessed Sal, his 3-year-old sister, is to Billy much as Ramona is to Beezus, but without the same level of tension. Her pillowcase full of the plush yellow whales she calls the Drop Sisters (Raindrop, Gumdrop, etc.) is a memorable prop. Henkes offers what he so often does in these longer works for children: a sense that experiences don’t have to be extraordinary to be important and dramatic. Billy’s slightly dreamy interior life isn’t filled with either angst or boisterous silliness—rather, the moments that appear in these stories are clarifying bits of the universal larger puzzle of growing up, changing and understanding the world. Small, precise black-and-white drawings punctuate and decorate the pages.

Sweetly low-key and totally accessible. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-226812-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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