A must for those seeking culturally diverse literary experiences.



Baguette knows he can travel in time, but can he save the nine lives of all of catkind?

Ginger cat Baguette lives on the 12th floor with the Petrov family. Not long ago he traveled in time to rescue Polina from the Land of Good Girls. He is in love with stray cat Purriana, but in order to marry her, Baguette must complete a “lover’s feat.” Purriana takes him to see her great-great-grandmother, who is an oracle and a member of the Council of Six, the mystical ruling body of all cats. Great-great-grandmother tells Baguette of Catlantis, where ancient cats lived in paradise thanks to the god Pussiedon. Baguette must use the time-travel magic all pure ginger cats have to go back and retrieve a Catlantic flower and bestow nine lives on all modern cats—many cat powers having been lost in the cat-aclysms and cat-astrophy that destroyed Catlantis. Purriana has another suitor, black-magic–using Noir, who, like his black-furred progenitors, wants all the cat powers for himself. Journalist Starobinets, mostly known in Russia as a writer of horror and dystopian fiction for adults, has been compared to Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, and her countryman Gogol. Her first title for youngsters translated into English is a trippy, silly tale of cat magic, folklore, and love. (It is also a companion to an earlier book about Polina, a fact that may momentarily disorient readers.) Bugaeva’s punny translation will make this a fine read-aloud.

A must for those seeking culturally diverse literary experiences. (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68137-000-2

Page Count: 136

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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