This series couldn’t ask for a more vibrant opening chapter.

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THE TIME HUNTERS

The first volume in a YA series featuring siblings who help their time-traveling uncle locate ancient artifacts.

Thirteen-year-old Becky Mellor is spending the summer with her younger brother, Joe, and their reclusive inventor uncle, Percy Halifax. From their home in Manchester, England, the siblings head for Bowen Hall and what will probably be a dull vacation. Upon meeting Percy, however, the siblings find him charmingly eccentric; his Jacobean mansion comes with rare miniature horses and a brilliant archer named Will, who lives in a treehouse. Then, one night, Joe drags Becky out of bed to witness Percy catering to a sick saber-toothed tiger. This leads to the revelation that it’s possible to travel backward in time, which the Global Institute for Time Travel regularly does. After a jaunt to the Pleistocene epoch (in a 1963 Volkswagen camper van), Percy and the kids return to find Bowen Hall ransacked by the murderous Otto Kruger, who may well be hunting for the legendary Golden Fleece. In Percy’s possession are the mysterious Theseus Disc and a note from deceased friend and fellow time traveler Bernard Preston. Following these leads, the heroic trio ventures to the island of Crete in the year 1634 B.C.—but are they prepared to face the myths handed down by history? Author Ashmore kicks off his series with a sustained burst of narrative ingenuity and wit. His characters are wonderful company, especially Becky, an endearing smart aleck who calls Percy’s housekeeper, Maria, a “human skittle.” The clever rules of Ashmore’s world will also hook readers; the Omega Effect, for example, governs certain events that time travelers can’t alter. Then there’s the problem of Otto Kruger, a Nazi who’s somehow gone forward in time. When danger threatens, Ashmore channels Dr. Who through madcap Percy: “Guns are for amateurs.” Best of all, the audience is treated to moments that are beautiful (Becky crying at the sight of woolly mammoths) and transcendent: “No matter when or where you are, the sea remains the same—wonderful, elegant, dangerous and vast.” From every angle, it’s an excellent work.

This series couldn’t ask for a more vibrant opening chapter.

Pub Date: March 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0956859501

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Addlebury Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...

WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO

Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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A killer thriller.

THREE HOURS IN PARIS

Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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