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FINDERS CREEPERS

From the Half Past Peculiar series , Vol. 1

Quirkily tantalizing but begging for a sequel.

The Family Fetch thrives on adventure, but this may be their biggest one yet.

The Fetch twins—rambunctious, athletic Esmeralda and bookish, cautious Atticus—run a pet-finding service with a “ninety-nine percent success rate.” The only thing standing between them and 100% is the shadow of their own dog, Dunnsworth, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances many years ago. The preternaturally responsible twins are left to their own devices most of the time, as their parents (an archaeologist and a deep-sea explorer) gallivant off on their own adventures. Cleaning the basement one day, the twins discover an ancient lost-dog flyer put up by a family completely unknown to them—and in trying to unravel the mystery, they’re drawn into a world of magic and monsters beyond anything they could have ever imagined. Fridolfs’ prose is simple but formal, giving the narrative a timeless air. The story effectively combines collaged images, graphic-novel sequences, and traditional prose. Nguyen’s monochrome illustrations are charmingly quirky, pets and settings depicted with photographic realism alongside balloon-headed people. The story proceeds at a leisurely clip but tries to fit too many plot threads into too short a space; the latter half of the story, which incorporates the fantasy world, is not explained, leaving readers feeling as lost as the twins when thrown into that world.

Quirkily tantalizing but begging for a sequel. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-25446-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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