Fast-paced adventure with a lot of charm.



From the Ra the Mighty series , Vol. 1

Ra is Pharaoh’s Cat, exalted, proud, pampered, and very lazy.

He lives for naps and snacks and views physical activity with horror. His friend Khepri, a scarab beetle, tries to get him moving, but to no avail. When Miu, a lowly kitchen cat, begs him to use his knowledge of the palace’s secrets to help Tedimut, a young human girl falsely accused of stealing an amulet, he declines, appalled at the possibility of missing his next snack. Shamed into helping, he leads the way through the intricacies of the palace. They find Tedimut’s hiding place, and after hearing her story, Ra decides to be the lead detective, with Khepri as his sidekick, to find the real thief. They track clues throughout the palace and get help from Aat, the Great Wife’s leopard; Bebi, the pet baboon of Pharaoh’s mother; and others. Overheard conversations, palace intrigue, chases, and loads of red herrings come into play before they find the surprise culprit and solve the mystery. Greenfield’s tone is generally lighthearted, but there is an undertone concerning the nature of power. The exciting ancient setting, as well as the characters’ idiosyncratic personalities and their delightful repartee, will appeal to young readers. Horne’s pen-and-ink portraits, elongated and exaggerated, perfectly complement the seriocomic tone of the novel.

Fast-paced adventure with a lot of charm. (glossary of names, author’s note, source note, acknowledgements) (Historical fantasy/mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4027-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff


From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...


Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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