When a Monty Python alum offers a novelization of an Edward Lear poem, it's practically guaranteed to be a Silly Walk. Evolution's very governor, the fabulous Bong Tree, has disappeared from a museum on the shores of Lake Pipple-popple, and two parties are out to track it down: the nefarious Fire Lord with his sulfurous but inept minions, and the familiar furred and feathered sweethearts. It's a long chase, over sea, the Great Gromboolian Plain, and the Land of Water, past Pie-rats, reanimated dinosaur fossils, and the Mulberry Jam Pits, with all sorts of Learian flora and fauna to be met along the way—some of it ready to burst into song. The Fire Lord imposes an Ice Age that leaves Owl frozen solid, but Pussycat's kiss melts bird and climate too; all rush off just in time to save the Bong Tree (which closely resembles a wilted leek) and bombard the Fire Lord with pies. The wedding proceeds, to the tune of the ``Wedding April'' (March is too cold for weddings), and Owl and Pussycat are last seen ``hand in hand on the edge of the sand,'' dancing by the light of the moon. Illustrated with a mix of Lear's sketches and new pen-and-ink drawings in the same spirit, this delivers the kind of funny business for which Idle is known, and will probably appease adult Python fans who wish to pass on a gentler form of the lunacy to their children. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-7871-1042-6

Page Count: 123

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1996

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A child finds that being alone in a tiny tropical paradise has its ups and downs in this appealingly offbeat tale from the Australian author of Peeling the Onion (1999). Though her mother is long dead and her scientist father Jack has just sailed off on a quick expedition to gather plankton, Nim is anything but lonely on her small island home. Not only does she have constant companions in Selkie, a sea lion, and a marine iguana named Fred, but Chica, a green turtle, has just arrived for an annual egg-laying—and, through the solar-powered laptop, she has even made a new e-mail friend in famed adventure novelist Alex Rover. Then a string of mishaps darkens Nim’s sunny skies: her father loses rudder and dish antenna in a storm; a tourist ship that was involved in her mother’s death appears off the island’s reefs; and, running down a volcanic slope, Nim takes a nasty spill that leaves her feverish, with an infected knee. Though she lives halfway around the world and is in reality a decidedly unadventurous urbanite, Alex, short for “Alexandra,” sets off to the rescue, arriving in the midst of another storm that requires Nim and companions to rescue her. Once Jack brings his battered boat limping home, the stage is set for sunny days again. Plenty of comic, freely-sketched line drawings help to keep the tone light, and Nim, with her unusual associates and just-right mix of self-reliance and vulnerability, makes a character young readers won’t soon tire of. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81123-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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Summertime finds a strange combination of five middle-schoolers high up in a leafy tree house in their newly formed support group, the “R.U. Club,” where the secret is what “R.U.” means and what they do in the club. They could not be more unlike one another and yet each deeply understands what it is like to live in a new family because of death or divorce: They feel like leftovers, “even though we are right under their noses.” Each one takes a turn to describe her concern or worry. Anonymously, in written suggestions and then in group brainstorming sessions, they discuss solutions. Then as the girls put their trust in collective wisdom and thoughtfully apply effort and action through careful heartfelt adherence to club rules, camaraderie develops. Mounting interest in the characters and their adjustments to family life builds to a too-sweet conclusion, which could be redressed in a sequel, yet five genuine multifaceted characters together with their families make a large cast of characters. which Deriso handles adeptly. An interesting group that begs for a sequel. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 10, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-385-73334-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2007

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