THE GREAT VANDAL SCANDAL

From the Great Pet Heist series , Vol. 3

Another wild caper for this winning animal ensemble.

A series of break-ins gives the Strathmore apartment building’s animal detectives an exciting new mystery to solve.

Who is plundering the basement storage cages at night? Only momentarily dismayed by a hysterical Yorkie’s reports of scratching claws and “THOUSANDS OF GLOWING EYES,” the motley multispecies squad—consisting at this point of two dogs, a feline diva, three rats, a mynah bird, and an octopus named Chad—feverishly plan and execute an investigation under the noses of their oblivious human companions, Mrs. Food and her temporary ward, Madison Park. They run up against a troop of foraging raccoons, sneaking in beneath the security cameras to wreak havoc. How to get them to lay off? When threats don’t work any better than polite requests, it’s time for a different approach. Maybe a little sympathy? (Butterbean the spaniel is scheduled for therapy dog tryouts.) Maybe the troop can be transformed into…a troupe? (The unnamed cat has starred in many cat food commercials.) The nonstop action and droll exchanges offer chuckles aplenty on the way to a tidy resolution made all the more satisfactory by a hilarious viral video and a well-deserved comedown for nasty nemesis Mrs. Hates Dogs on Six. Mottram’s rich, if rare, spots and vignettes feature creatures as aglow with character as the racially diverse human cast.

Another wild caper for this winning animal ensemble. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781665919050

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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 ONE AND ONLY IVAN

From the One and Only series , Vol. 1

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

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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. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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