Positive, encouraging, and inspirational.



During his second mission in Afghanistan, Marine Corps intelligence collector Craig Grossi makes a discovery that changes everything.

In between attacks on his unit’s compound, Craig spots a dog searching the ruins for scraps of food. Although it’s filthy and bug-ridden, the little dog is joyful and friendly. In no time he has a name—Fred—and is accompanying the team on patrols, comforting the wounded, and winning the hearts of every Marine in the compound. As their tour draws to a close, Craig is desperate to rescue Fred from the war zone. The military’s rule on stray dogs is unflinching, but with the help of brave friends and loving family, both Craig and Fred return to the United States. Fred acclimates nicely to civilian life, but Craig cannot leave the war behind. Once again Fred’s boundless joy shines through, showing Craig the way back home. More than just a story of a man and his dog, this is a tale of joy eclipsing pain. Even in this young readers’ adaptation of his identically titled 2017 book for adults, Grossi’s portrayal of war is realistic. Death, violence, and fear are a constant in the battlefield, but Grossi manages to find humor in the midst of horror and life after loss. Several pages of snapshots of Fred are included at the book’s halfway point, and brief celebrations of two of Grossi’s slain comrades in arms appear at the end.

Positive, encouraging, and inspirational. (Memoir. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-269335-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.



A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.



Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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