Unbelievable, improbable, and illogical—but quite delightful.

THE POPPER PENGUIN RESCUE

Joel, Nina, and their mother, Mrs. Popper, are distantly related to the family whose penguins made the town of Stillwater famous years ago.

In nearby Hillport, Mrs. Popper has purchased an abandoned house that had once been a penguin petting zoo. While exploring their new home, the children discover two intact penguin eggs in the basement. They care for the eggs surreptitiously, without telling Mom. Once the eggs hatch, the baby penguins, now named Ernest and Mae, are mischievous and clever, and the secret is soon out. The family decides to bring Ernest and Mae to join the original group of penguins that was relocated to Popper Island in the Arctic—never mind that penguins’ habitat is the Antarctic. They travel by boat, with Yuka, an Inuit doctoral student in zoology, as their guide and leader. Journey highlights include a penguin-caused glitch in the boat’s computer systems, a vicious Arctic storm, and lively interactions with the island-based penguins. Due to a puffin problem they decide to haul all the penguins to Antarctica, their rightful habitat. Schrefer clearly greatly admires the beloved, more-than–80-year-old classic, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, keeping readers informed by referring to its characters and events while adding a modern, eco-friendly viewpoint and lots of fun and laughs. Joel and Nina are sweet, resourceful, and wonderfully kind, as are Mom and Yuka. (Illustrations not seen.)

Unbelievable, improbable, and illogical—but quite delightful. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49542-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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An enthralling fantasy adventure full of bravery, love, and humor.

THE MARVELLERS

A Black girl embarks on an unprecedented journey to tap deeper into her magic.

Ella Durand is an 11-year-old from New Orleans, where she lives with her conjure-politician father, notorious Conjuror mother, grandmother, and little sister, Winnie. Ella makes history as the first Conjuror to be accepted into the Arcanum Training Institute, where she can learn to become a Marveller. Ella is eager to discover her marvel and to find out more about a type of magic so different from what she has grown up with, but integrating into this new school turns out to be harder than she hoped. Fortunately, she makes new friends, Jason and Brigit, who help her better navigate life at the school. After Ella’s family becomes embroiled in controversy due to allegations of their connection to an infamous escaped criminal and her teacher and mentor, Masterji Thakur, goes missing, she needs her friends’ help to help set things right. Clayton does a wonderful job with skillful worldbuilding that is bolstered by vivid, detailed descriptions and smart, witty prose, and readers will be swept up in the magic. The novel celebrates the diverse peoples and customs that make up Ella’s world. Parallels between the world of the Marvellers and real-world history around discrimination, privilege, marginalization, and stereotyping are clear without being heavy-handed. A charming cast and captivating storylines make this a breath of fresh air.

An enthralling fantasy adventure full of bravery, love, and humor. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-17494-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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