Just the ticket for budding naturalists with a serious interest in our planet’s remotest reaches.

READ REVIEW

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S DEEP SEA VOYAGE

From the Professor Astro Cat series

The feline science explorer conducts a tour of the world’s oceans.

Though readers who have navigated Miranda Krestovnikoff’s Ocean: Exploring Our Blue Planet, illustrated by Jill Calder (2020), or any of the many like ventures will find the territory and content familiar, the professor’s enthusiasm (“KNOWLEDGE AWAITS!”) and Newman’s busy, blocky scenes of sea life and landforms lend extra vim to the adventure. There are bits of comedy and side commentary, but generally the members of the bright-eyed animal crew familiar from previous expeditions are all business, asking leading questions or pointing significantly to underscore the professor’s neat, legible blocks of observations and explanations. After first gathering on the beach for a look at tides, tide pools, and erosion, the explorers dive for close looks at diverse habitats from kelp forests to shipwrecks, with occasional pauses to study broad topics like food webs or plate tectonics. Following encounters with whales and sharks, fish, birds, and dozens of other marine denizens at every depth, the voyagers land on the Galápagos Islands, split up to visit the poles, regather for quick ganders at how oceans are being threatened and protected, then close out with a final spray of “Factoroids”: “More people have stepped on the surface of the Moon than have been to the Mariana Trench.”

Just the ticket for budding naturalists with a serious interest in our planet’s remotest reaches. (glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-912497-89-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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