Nonthreatening, nonstop mayhem…next stop: Tinseltown! (Graphic adventure. 8-11)

BIG TOP OTTO

From the Elephants Never Forget series , Vol. 2

Otto the peanut-allergic elephant cracks another case.

Still looking for his missing childhood friend, Georgie the chimp, and fresh from helping the big city cops bust a gang of hoodlums, Otto and his sidekick, Crackers the parrot, make their way across the country. This time, they're following circus Punkratz & Pinky, which, if the posters are to be believed, may be where Georgie ended up after being abducted by the man with the wooden nose. Leaving a trail of inadvertent destruction (thanks to Otto's explosive allergic sneezes), they catch up to the circus only to find it's a front for exotic-animal smugglers...and Georgie has moved on. Can the bumbling duo save their new animal friends? The slapstick and goofy situations (Otto dresses as a clown; is mistaken for a football mascot; drives a peanut-shaped car) in Slavin's second full-color graphic adventure will entertain even if several jokes are well above the reading level. It’s also a bit disturbing that animals wearing clothes and speaking are still treated like animals (and hunted for sport) by humans; but the old-timey feel should win fans and please those already established.

Nonthreatening, nonstop mayhem…next stop: Tinseltown! (Graphic adventure. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-806-5

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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REMEMBERING GREEN

In this sketchy, incoherent, near-future tale, a child named Rain and the lion she has raised are stolen from an inland village for some never-explained Sacrifice by “Tekkies” inhabiting The Island, a former mountaintop surrounded by risen seas. Aside from vague references to “the Wild,” “Drylands” and air-conditioned “chill chambers,” the author does little to set up either the scene or the back story, nor does she ever reveal why Rain or the lion are considered so significant. Instead she focuses almost entirely on Rain’s unhappiness and confusion through disconnected encounters with Island residents, and then she engineers a highly contrived escape for the girl and lion as their former prison is totally destroyed for unknown reasons. The deadly effects of global warming certainly make a cogent theme, but this effort to take it up seems to have been, at best, phoned in by a veteran South African author who usually offers much more careful and sensitive work (Song of Be, 1993, etc.). Goodness knows, there's a raft of other eco-disaster tales out there for readers so inclined. (Science fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84780-114-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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Comfortably predictable fare for younger fans and those who prefer their fantasy charged with standard themes and tropes.

THE BRIGHTWORKING

From the Brightstone Saga series , Vol. 1

A blacksmith’s son becomes a wizard’s apprentice in this uncomplicated series opener.

Illiterate Mikal is snatched from his home village and pressed into service oiling bookbindings for the urban magicians of the Guild of Constant Working. Shortly thereafter, he is promoted to librarian/copyist for Harlano, the Guild’s cruel and remote head. The obligatory quest begins with a revelation that all the world’s magic is metal “brightworking,” derived from a lost meteoric “Brightstone.” Supposedly lost, that is—before sending Mikal and company into subsequent episodes (at least two more are planned), Thompson clumsily provides a huge and obvious clue to its whereabouts that his characters miss but readers won’t. Mikal acquires rudimentary reading skills along the way, as well as a quick-witted if mouthy sidekick named Lyra and Orichalkon, a babbling but extremely well-informed clockwork talking head. With their help, he escapes Harlano’s repeated efforts to do him in on the way to a massive fire and an invasion of the city that put him and his companions on the road.

Comfortably predictable fare for younger fans and those who prefer their fantasy charged with standard themes and tropes. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3950-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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