Readers won over by Nosewise’s heart and doggy point of view in The Wizard’s Dog (2017) will welcome him back.

READ REVIEW

THE WIZARD'S DOG FETCHES THE GRAIL

From the Wizard's Dog series , Vol. 2

The death of Nivian, beloved Lady of the Lake, prompts a second expedition into the Fae Otherworld for Merlin’s intrepid talking dog and his human “pack.”

Discovering that the only hope of revivifying his kindly friend is a drink from the fabled Grail of Life, Nosewise hesitates not, plunging back into the Winter Lands in search of long-lost Camelot, where the chalice is said to reside. Needless to say, challenges await—from dire wolves and dragons to immensely powerful Queen Mab, mind-altering “sovereign of dreams.” Even scarier, so powerful are the Grail’s contents, it turns out, that the merest drop or sip causes anything mortal to grow and die in a moment. Gale makes excellent use of this last notion, first to provide a spectacularly squishy setting for a climactic scene featuring burgeoning mounds of rotting fruit and fungi, and second for his compulsively gabby protagonist to demonstrate not only true heroism, but uncharacteristic restraint in carrying the magical draft himself for the journey’s suspenseful final leg. In Phillips’ elaborately modeled illustrations Nosewise resembles an overstimulated Akita—white, like Merlin, capable apprentice wizard Morgana, hopelessly feckless young Arthur, and the rest of the two-legged supporting cast.

Readers won over by Nosewise’s heart and doggy point of view in The Wizard’s Dog (2017) will welcome him back. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53740-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An almost-orphan and a rescue dog share lots of heart in a winsome coming-of-age story.

A HOME FOR GODDESSES AND DOGS

After her mother succumbs to heart disease, 13-year-old Lydia goes to live with her mother’s older sister, Aunt Brat, and her wife, Eileen, in their small Connecticut town.

Almost immediately the loving couple adopts a large rescue dog that becomes mostly Lydia’s responsibility. The unfortunate animal isn’t even housebroken, and Lydia’s most decidedly not a dog person, so caring for Guffer is challenging. So is trying to be cordial—but not too friendly—with her 12 eighth grade classmates. Previously home-schooled, Lydia’s not quite ready for the friend thing. Secrets, like who could have been responsible for maiming two baby goats or why Brat is secretly caring for them at a neighbor’s farm, complicate life. Background plotlines (an angry neighbor who hates Guffer, Lydia’s absent father, and the cause of Guffer’s anxieties) all gradually evolve. Similarly, Lydia slowly learns to cope with her grief, sometimes aided by spending time with “the goddesses”—artistic collages of strong women that she and her mother crafted. Gentle, fully fleshed characters (most seemingly white) are lovingly drawn in this long tale of healing, but the pacing is sometimes frustratingly slow. Although she’s clearly intelligent, Lydia’s first-person narrative often seems more like the voice of an adult than a young teen. In spite of these minor flaws, her poignant tale is engaging and uplifting.

An almost-orphan and a rescue dog share lots of heart in a winsome coming-of-age story. (Fiction.10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-279678-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sure draw for the Kung-Fu Panda crowd, high on body count but low on gory details, it doesn't take itself too seriously...

THE BATTLE OF RIPTIDE

From the Shark Wars series , Vol. 2

Toothy rivals introduced in the opener, Shark Wars (2011), unite in the sequel to battle an army of shark invaders from the far end of the Big Blue.

Having learned that he’s not fat (or “big-cartilaged,” as he prefers to put it) but a supersized prehistoric Megalodon, young Gray is propelled into playing a leading role in repelling a disciplined force of shark troops from Indi, led by King Finnivus, a spoiled and vicious brat with visions of world conquest. Fortunately, Gray is being tutored in martial “Shar-kata” by Takiza, an ancient and bad-tempered betta (Siamese fighting fish). He also finds common purpose with other “shivers” (the basic shark communal unit—though more open-minded shivers admit other species too) and discovers unexpected allies who arrive (thanks to Takiza’s ability to span entire oceans with magical speed) in the nick of time to turn the tide of the climactic battle. When Gray cries, or pants with exhaustion, the overall anthropomorphic conceit wears thin, but Altbacker expends some effort concocting his undersea setting and fills out the finny cast with familiar martial-arts–style character types.

A sure draw for the Kung-Fu Panda crowd, high on body count but low on gory details, it doesn't take itself too seriously and is fully sequel-enabled. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59514-377-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more