From the Ninja Meerkats series , Vol. 1

A fuzzy version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

British author Jones brings furry new heroes up from the depths of the Red Desert. The Clan of the Scorpion is a secret ninja organization made up of meerkats. Boastful Jet Flashfeet, inventor/genius Donnie Dragonjab and muscle Bruce Willowhammer are led by the pun-as-proverb–spouting Chuck Cobracrusher. When Ming the tiger goes missing, the meerkats know something foul is afoot, as Ming possesses a rare and secret ability, the Roar of Victory, which is used for mind control. They know her disappearance could only be the work of their nefarious, circus-themed archnemesis, the Ringmaster. He plans on using Ming to brainwash the entire world. To solve the mystery of the missing Ming, the Clan of the Scorpion must travel to Hong Kong and battle their way through the Ringmaster’s henchmen, all while keeping themselves secret and disguised from normal humans. The fight scenes are comical—at one point, the heroes incapacitate enemies by tying their shoelaces together. The meerkat ninja team combats evil clowns and even a trained circus poodle. Illustrations amp up the humor, taking advantage of comedic visuals. The jokes fly just as fast as Jet’s fists. Straightforward and humorous throughout, the story is ideal for reluctant readers. Fast, funny and charming. (character profiles) (Adventure. 7-10)


Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-01664-5

Page Count: 110

Publisher: Square Fish

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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