A thrilling and very worthwhile choice for emergent readers.

I AM JAX, PROTECTOR OF THE RANCH

From the Dog's Day series

In the first of a new series about working dogs, Jax, a Great Pyrenees, describes his efforts to protect his flock of sheep through a long, scary night.

When the lead livestock guardian dog, Bev, is injured in a coyote attack, only Jax and a very youthful novice dog, Stormy, are left to protect their owner’s flock. After one of the ewes delivers a new lamb, things get even more complicated. Jax, brave and pragmatic, must try to keep a close eye on the defenseless pair while still making sure the flock is safe, never certain that he can rely on Stormy’s unproven judgment. Then a mountain lion begins to menace the sheep.…Jax’s matter-of-fact voice is both believable and highly informative, providing readers with a riveting step-by-step account of how livestock guardians are trained and how they do their work. Never lost in that enlightening presentation is the rising suspense generated by the large cat threatening the sheep—and the dogs. Rosa’s illustrations, a few for each short chapter, nicely enhance the text (and depict Jax’s human family as white). Considering that all of this is packaged in a slender volume intended for readers newly transitioned to chapter books, this is an outstanding effort, packed with interesting information but also too engrossing to put down. I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow, about a chocolate Lab who does avalanche rescue, publishes simultaneously.

A thrilling and very worthwhile choice for emergent readers. (Adventure. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1663-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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