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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THE FORTUNE-TELLER

From the Brightstone Saga series , Vol. 2

An evil wizard bent on seizing the clockwork head that holds the secret to all the world’s magic takes up the chase again in this middle volume.

Three years of lying low in the wake of the opener’s (Brightworking, 2011) fiery climax come to a sudden end for young Mikal and Lyra when their nemesis, Master Harlano, tracks them down in a traveling show. Narrowly escaping with their chatty metal charge, Orichalkon, the fugitives strike out for the city of Farhaven in hopes of finding wizardly help (why they hadn’t done this earlier goes unexplained). Along the way, they find themselves caught up in a conflict between loggers and woods-loving fey folk, temporarily lose Orichalkon in a raging river and acquire an eerie but strong ally in Killeen, a newly reformed werewolf. Internal logic isn’t the author’s highest priority, but he does shepherd his young characters through a quick succession of dangerous situations and (as the two have conflicting personalities) entertaining quarrels. The end leaves Harlano triumphantly in possession of Orichalkon and Killeen too, with Mikal and Lyra in hot pursuit. Stay tuned. A predictable but not entirely earnest chase, with a page count that may draw readers wearied or intimidated by the ongoing flood of doorstopper epics. (Fantasy. 9-11)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3983-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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Purposeful in a positive way, this imaginatively illustrated book should open readers’ eyes to issues facing children who...

RAZIA'S RAY OF HOPE

ONE GIRL'S DREAM OF AN EDUCATION

From the CitizenKid series

The United States is still involved in Afghanistan, and interest in girls’ education in that war-torn country is a strong topic of concern.

Young Razia wants to attend the new girls’ school that is being built in her village, but her grandfather is her only ally. Her older brothers, uneducated themselves, don’t want her to attend. Little do they know that she has already taught herself to read and that she is independent enough to ask the head of the school to convince her family. It is difficult to understand why Aziz, her eldest brother, wields such power in the family, but teacher Razia Jan, modeled after a real Afghani-American who has returned to her country to spread the hope of education, knows she has to persuade him. (Confusingly, the teacher shares the protagonist’s name.) However, it is young Razia herself who proves to Aziz that education can be useful when she uses her secret literacy to give him the correct dose of medicine when he falls ill. Using collage techniques that employ photography, traditional fabrics and realistic pencil sketches, Verelst creates a striking complement to this realistic story of contemporary life. The explanatory material at the end and the classroom activities are useful for educational settings.

Purposeful in a positive way, this imaginatively illustrated book should open readers’ eyes to issues facing children who live in very different circumstances. (Picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-816-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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