Stone-cold predictable but with enough silliness to keep sliding along.

BLAST FROM THE NORTH

From the Lug series , Vol. 2

Art-loving cave lad Lug again saves his clan (and several others too) from the twin menaces of climate change and bad guys.

As if the arrival of snow and saber-toothed tigers in series opener Dawn of the Ice Age (2014) weren’t upsetting enough, here comes a mountain of ice moving with suspicious speed and precision toward the homes of the Macrauchenia Rider and Boar Rider clans. Riding out atop friendly mammoth Woolly to investigate, Lug and pals find both a glacier riddled with tunnels and Blast, a weirdly white-skinned frozen boy who, when thawed out, offers the glacier as a mobile shelter for the threatened locals. But the sight of exiled thug Bonehead working with Blast hints that all is not as it seems—and indeed, the whole setup turns out to be an ongoing scheme to rob prehistoric communities of their livestock. Can Lug stop Blast and his cronies (and the glacier), free the captive villagers imprisoned at the mountain’s bottom, and maybe even rescue the cub that Blast has kidnapped to keep the resident polar bears in line? Natch! By the end all’s made right, he’s found a new friend in equally artistic Boaga (described as “dark-skinned” with “frizzy black hair and almond-shaped eyes”), and even lost at least some of his pathological fear of animals. Gerardi dresses modern-looking kids in crude furs for the cartoon illustrations.

Stone-cold predictable but with enough silliness to keep sliding along. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0641-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

Did you like this book?

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more