Next book


Patchy and sentimental but central to our past, present, and future; at once grand and intimate.

A broad history of our planet overlaid on a seed’s experience of time and change.

Spun out to doorstopper dimensions by the overly liberal use of single lines of narrative on otherwise blank pages, Selznick’s latest fulsomely illustrated tale twines storylines large-scaled and small-, literal and metaphorical, immediate and spanning billions of years. In a Cretaceous forest, the desperate efforts of sycamore seed Merwin to protect his visionary little sibling Louise make for adventures aplenty involving fire, winds, dinosaurs, and even a volcanic eruption—with occasional breaks for flashbacks or philosophical dialogues with their loving Mama, a decomposing leaf, and the Earth itself. He eventually fails, as the two are swept off in different directions. They reunite many years later to grow up side by side, branches intertwined, after which the author fast-forwards to the present and a seedling’s rescue from a city sidewalk crack by a little Black girl. Most of the illustrations come in wordless, full-page sequential bursts, and if their ultra-soft focus isn’t particularly suitable for capturing more violent events, the lyrical, dramatic, and comical ones glow with vivid, cinematic intensity. In a lengthy afterword the author provides nature notes as well as describing the story’s origins as a movie concept from Steven Spielberg (whose tendency toward sentimentality is all over this), closing with a bibliography that includes, appropriately, The Carrot Seed and A Tree Is Nice.

Patchy and sentimental but central to our past, present, and future; at once grand and intimate. (Illustrated fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781338180633

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

Next book


From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

Next book


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Close Quickview