A charming tale.

READ REVIEW

MEGABAT

From the Megabat series , Vol. 1

Daniel must find a way to get a talking bat back to its home country while evading his tattletale next-door neighbor.

Daniel Misumi has just moved into an old, creaky, and possibly haunted house. He hears a disembodied voice, and strange puddles keep appearing on the floor. Fortunately for Daniel, it’s not a ghost but a talking fruit bat, which he names Megabat. It seems that Megabat was napping on a papaya when it was picked and crated to be shipped across the world. Now he’s living in Daniel’s house, sad and alone. With the help of Talia, his neighbor, Daniel devises a way to mail Megabat back. When that fails, and Talia’s annoying little brother threatens to expose them, the two friends must find a way to get Megabat home quickly. As the story evolves, Megabat and Daniel become friends, and Megabat finds a pigeon companion, Birdgirl. The story touches on familiar topics such as struggling to make new friends, moving to a new place, missing home, and animal care. The miscommunications between humans and a fruit bat are ridiculous yet funny, and Reich’s soft illustrations add further, gentle humor. Many readers may find the ending abrupt and a romantic subplot unnecessary, but they can’t help but enjoy the talking bat and scatological references. Daniel’s Japanese heritage is indicated by his name; Talia presents white.

A charming tale. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6257-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sweetly low-key and totally accessible.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2013

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more