THERE’S NOTHING TO DO ON MARS

Following a story arc that’s been popular at least since Ellen Raskin’s Nothing Ever Happens On My Block! (1966), young Davey fails to find anything to relieve his boredom in the rugged Martian landscape—not the fish skeleton, the giant face, the half-buried Mars Rover or even the horde of froggy Martians leaping about in a wild (and, of course, futile) rain dance. Engraved on clay-coated board and then digitally finished, Gall’s dazzling illustrations feature sharply defined, naturally posed figures placed against big, orange, wind-sculpted rocks beneath a greenish sky. Witty details abound, from Davey’s home, which is an old Airstream trailer perched atop a giant rocket motor, to his pop-eyed robot dog, who tends to leak battery fluid when stressed. Ultimately, Davey finds all the adventure he could want when he digs into the crater atop Olympus Mons and unleashes a titanic flood—but then the neighborhood quickly becomes overcrowded with new arrivals, and Davey’s dad suggests moving on to Saturn. There probably won’t be much to do there, either, right? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-316-16684-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE

Thanks to parrot-toting Braidbeard and his gloriously disreputable crew, a lad discovers the ups and downs of a pirate’s life in this rousing mini-epic. His mom and dad busy on another part of the beach, young Jeremy happily joins a band of hook-handed, eye-patched, snaggle-toothed pirates aboard their ship, learning pirate table manners (none), enjoying a game of nautical soccer until a shark eats the ball, then happily retiring without having to brush teeth, or even don pajamas. But then Jeremy learns that pirates don’t get tucked in, or get bedtime stories, and as for good night kisses—Avast! Worse yet, no one offers comfort when a storm hits. So, giving over the pirate’s life, Jeremy shows the crew where to bury its treasure (his backyard), and bids them goodbye. Shannon outfits Braidbeard’s leering, pop-eyed lot in ragged but colorful pirate dress, and gives his young ruffian-in-training a belt and bandanna to match. This isn’t likely to turn pirate wannabees into landlubbers, but it will inspire a chorus of yo-ho-hos. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-201848-4

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more