Reminiscent of both Pinocchio and The Great Mouse Detective, this novel is tailor-made for young readers who love adventure...

THE KIDNAP PLOT

From the Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie series , Vol. 1

Charlie Pondicherry, a Punjabi-English boy whose life revolves around his father’s clock shop, experiences the world entirely through books and stories…but that is about to change.

When his brilliant inventor father is kidnapped by a group of sinister men, all they leave behind is a mysterious note signed by the Anti-Human League. Aided by a motley crew of helpmates that includes a troll, an aristocratic pixie, and two chimney sweeps, Charlie races to save his father and foil a plot against Queen Victoria during her Diamond Jubilee. Along the way, Charlie learns that life is far more complicated than the fairy tales he read could have prepared him for. In this first novel of a projected series for children, Butler crafts a multilayered network of societies within and beneath London and a racially diverse cast of characters, none of whom are entirely what they seem. Through the group’s exploits in the city, the author makes astute social commentary about the xenophobic attitudes of both 19th-century English society and, by extension, our own. Though the fast-paced action is dizzying at times, the novel’s central lesson that kindness is integral to the definition of humanity is solid.

Reminiscent of both Pinocchio and The Great Mouse Detective, this novel is tailor-made for young readers who love adventure narratives and steampunk fiction. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51295-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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