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THE HAWK OF THE CASTLE

An idyllic picture of an ancient practice.

A trained hawk serves as fierce centerpiece to broad, sweeping views of castle and countryside in this rhapsodic tribute to the craft of falconry.

The text unfurls in partly rhymed stanzas that all end, “House That Jack Built”–style, with the word “castle” and so take on an incantatory tone. In it, a white child follows her falconer father as he prepares and carries a hawk—“a sight to behold, / a master of flight, graceful and bold”—out for a day’s hunting. In inset corner boxes Smith fills in details about how trained birds of prey are traditionally fed and housed, how they hunt, and the purposes of bells and other specialized gear. She then closes with a note on falconry through the ages to today and lists of informational sources in print and online. With his customary skill Ibatoulline depicts hawk (probably a goshawk) and prey with every feather distinct, light-skinned figures clad in exactly detailed late-medieval dress and armor, an idealized European castle, and aerial views of thatched roofs and gently rolling countryside. Although the hawk is depicted about to snatch up a grouse and is later shown crouched over it on the ground, the rending and tearing bits are left out of view.

An idyllic picture of an ancient practice. (index) (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7992-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

From the First Cat in Space series , Vol. 1

Epic lunacy.

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A WHALE OF THE WILD

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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