Love might not last forever, but it can certainly teach an old dog new tricks.

I, COSMO

Cosmo has the soul of a dancer. There’s just one problem—dogs can’t dance…can they?

Ever since Mom and Dad picked him out of the litter 13 years ago, Cosmo has vowed to protect the Walker family, whom he loves more than anything, until his dying day. Trouble lurks, however, behind the household’s closed doors. Mom and Dad are fighting more and more, leaving 12-year-old Max, his younger sister, Emmaline, and Cosmo scared and confused, wary of the dreaded d-word, divorce, hounding their heels. When Mom’s brother, Reggie, returns from Afghanistan and brings Max and Cosmo to a special club for dogs, the inseparable pair discovers that dancing may be the only way to try and hold the family together. Cosmo must battle shyness, the pains of age, and demonic neighborhood sheepdogs (both real and imagined) to try and save what he and Max love most. Cosmo’s narration combines wit, heart, stubbornness, and a grouchy dignity, all ably tugging at funny bones and heartstrings alike. Sorosiak’s author’s note is a joyful celebration of dogs’ hidden humanity, one that’s reflected in her joyfully and painfully realistic tale of a struggling family and doggedly persistent canine companion. The family itself is biracial (white dad, black mom), and both kids have brown skin and curly black hair.

Love might not last forever, but it can certainly teach an old dog new tricks. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0769-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: yesterday

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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