A mystery with an engaging plot that will leave readers itching for further series installments.

THE LUNATICK

Rosenblit’s debut middle-grade series starter,set in the anthropomorphic-dog world of Collywood, begins with an art theft and ends with a team of young canines trying to stop an evil scientist.

Roddy Weiler is the young pup of Rod Weiler, a legendary Collywood police detective, and he’s destined to follow in his father’s pawprints—indeed, much sooner than he expected. His interest is piqued when his dad investigates the case of a stolen Salvador Collie painting. Roddy enlists his crew of four skilled comrades to assist. Initially, circumstances point to criminal Al K. Bone and the young detective digs up details of one of Bone’s recent major transactions. Using clever disguises, cutting-edge tech, and investigative research, the squad unearths a much more wicked plot, and Roddy quickly realizes that he and his pals may be in danger. Rosenblit’s tale offers sophisticated descriptions and is as energetic as the young pups at its center. The fictional world of Collywood is filled with puns, such as “the Dogfather” and “Brad Pit Bull,” adding human references to the somewhat unconventional canine subject matter. Rod and Roddy are well developed characters, and their relationship provides insight into their close father-son relationship. As the members of the team investigate different elements of the case, the text encourages young readers to pay attention in order to piece clues together in this well-paced tale. The use of dogs as characters may feel juvenile to some tweens, but they’ll likely enjoy the elevated vocabulary and intense final scenes.

A mystery with an engaging plot that will leave readers itching for further series installments.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-578-80408-8

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Bowker

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2021

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A fantastic, heartbreaking crescendo that echoes beyond the final page.

WILLA OF DARK HOLLOW

From the Willa of the Wood series , Vol. 2

A young Faeran girl puts everything on the line to save her home and the family she loves.

Emerging from the charred ruins of the Faeran forest lair, 13-year-old green-skinned, brown-haired Willa has formed a new family with humans who care about the Great Smoky Mountain as much as she does. Unfortunately, the Sutton Lumber Company has plans to clear the forest for railroad tracks. Her White adoptive father, Nathaniel, has become a leading voice against the destruction, making him a target. After he is arrested on suspicion of murdering loggers, Willa asks for help from her Faeran clan, but they blame her for the death of their leader and subsequent loss of their old home. Even the forest itself has grown hostile as strange, deathly cold creatures attack. Adelaide, a new blond, blue-eyed friend, and Hialeah, Nathaniel’s White and Cherokee daughter, join Willa in protecting the forest, clearing Nathaniel’s name, saving the Faeran, and unraveling the mystery of the malicious beasts. This duology closer is a captivating, stirring tale of family, friendship, the environment, and our place in the world. At every turn, Willa is faced with higher stakes and decisions that are even harder to make; the consequences of each choice weigh on her heart. The gorgeous prose and imagery of the mountains will inspire in readers a deep admiration for nature and support for Willa’s fight.

A fantastic, heartbreaking crescendo that echoes beyond the final page. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-00760-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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