A fizzy, fast-paced read with lots of history woven in.

THE TITANIC MISSION

From the Flashback Four series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Flashback Four series, time-travelers Luke, Julia, David, and Isabel are off on a new adventure, this time boarding the Titanic to snap a photograph as it sinks.

The friends (Luke and Julia are white, David is African-American, and Latina Isabel is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic) failed in their debut mission: to get a picture of Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. Now they’re anxious for a new adventure and decide to visit the Titanic on April 15, 1912, the day it sank. Their employer, white, wheelchair-using billionaire Chris Zandergoth, uses her interactive smartboard as a time-traveling device and equips the kids with a new Text Through Time device so she can communicate with them and pull them off the ship just before it sinks. Of course, even with the TTT, everything does not go swimmingly, and the foursome may well get trapped in time, if they survive at all. An introduction presents the basic Titanic story, archival photographs are scattered throughout the text, and a concluding “Facts & Fictions” section tells more. Gutman enriches the tale with moral dilemmas, including whether or not the protagonists should go against instructions to record but not change history and warn the captain of the impending disaster.

A fizzy, fast-paced read with lots of history woven in. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-223635-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy.

ALMOST SUPER

Inventively tweaking a popular premise, Jensen pits two Incredibles-style families with superpowers against each other—until a new challenge rises to unite them.

The Johnsons invariably spit at the mere mention of their hated rivals, the Baileys. Likewise, all Baileys habitually shake their fists when referring to the Johnsons. Having long looked forward to getting a superpower so that he too can battle his clan’s nemeses, Rafter Bailey is devastated when, instead of being able to fly or something else cool, he acquires the “power” to strike a match on soft polyester. But when hated classmate Juanita Johnson turns up newly endowed with a similarly bogus power and, against all family tradition, they compare notes, it becomes clear that something fishy is going on. Both families regard themselves as the heroes and their rivals as the villains. Someone has been inciting them to fight each other. Worse yet, that someone has apparently developed a device that turns real superpowers into silly ones. Teaching themselves on the fly how to get past their prejudice and work together, Rafter, his little brother, Benny, and Juanita follow a well-laid-out chain of clues and deductions to the climactic discovery of a third, genuinely nefarious family, the Joneses, and a fiendishly clever scheme to dispose of all the Baileys and Johnsons at once. Can they carry the day?

A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy. (Adventure. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-220961-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more