Nonmilitary kids should enjoy seeing the challenges and fun of living on base. A series, perhaps? (Fiction. 8-12)

ARMY BRATS

The Bailey family adjusts to life on a military post for the first time.

Mom is an intelligence officer, while Dad works as a graphic artist from home. The kids are excited about the new independence that life on a military post allows them. The post is pretty much open to the kids: a movie theater, the PX, the ice cream shop, the pool, and anywhere else where dependents are allowed. This freedom leads the kids to explore a mysterious, abandoned building, which is in a restricted area. While the mystery is exciting, containing just the right amount of tension and scary situations, it’s the relationship among the children that gives the story life. Eight-year-old Rosie, adopted from China at 3, might be cute to strangers, but her bossiness causes her to have trouble making friends. Charlotte, nearly 11, enjoys the cool girls, even if they are mean, while Tom, the oldest, struggles with dyslexia and is in the same grade as Charlotte; both are white and the biological children of Mom and Dad. Tom emits what his family calls the “screech of doom” when he is surprised, making him the target of a bully on the first day of school. There are some rather unlikely situations (obedient military kids entering a locked building at night? Rosie’s scream of “IED!!” in a PX??), but the overall story is exciting.

Nonmilitary kids should enjoy seeing the challenges and fun of living on base. A series, perhaps? (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93205-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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