The absence of malign characters or motives keeps the tone light, and the parallels with campaigns on broader stages will be...

READ REVIEW

THE TAPPER TWINS RUN FOR PRESIDENT

From the Tapper Twins series , Vol. 3

Political races can get ugly—particularly when they’re family matters.

Class president Claudia Tapper’s smug expectations of an easy re-election for second semester take a major hit when her slacker twin, Reese, enters the race. Being clueless but better liked than his driven, humorless sib in their moderately diverse Manhattan private school, Reese mounts a serious challenge. In no time the rival campaigns have devolved into hot messes of negative spin, straw polls, secret deals, and (perceived) betrayals, with an added element of chaos introduced by a wacko third-party candidate. As in previous Tapper twin brangles, the narrative is framed as a typescript “oral history” by Claudia with interjections from everyone involved, plus frequent “Clickchat” entries, texts from hacked parental phones, screenshots, posters, snapshots of New York City hangouts, and school newspaper articles. Typically, Claudia turns out to be her own worst enemy, but she redeems herself with a last-minute online manifesto that shows she’s not just in it for ego and some determined fence-mending with alienated friends. Though a post-vote revelation that the election was thrown puts a cynical edge on the whole process, Rodkey’s comical picture of the political arena’s cut and thrust is certainly timely.

The absence of malign characters or motives keeps the tone light, and the parallels with campaigns on broader stages will be obvious to all. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-29785-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

A splendid adventure, hilarious and harrowing in turn and so strongly cast that even the precocious pocket primate doesn’t...

THE IMAGINATION BOX

From the Imagination Box series , Vol. 1

Two young sleuths—three if you count the talking marmoset—narrowly avert worldwide disaster after a truly dangerous device and its inventor vanish suddenly.

Ford works twists both funny and terrifying into the notion of wish fulfillment. Being a nosy sort, 10-year-old Tim soon discovers that Professor Eisenstone, a secretive new guest at the hotel his adoptive parents own, has developed a nano-assembler the size of a microwave oven that creates any item that can be visualized strongly enough. It doesn’t take long for the clever white lad to think into existence Phil, a companion “finger monkey” with posh manners and accent, and also an improved Imagination Box of his own. But almost immediately, Eisenstone and the original are snatched by a villainous ex-politician. Tim and Eisenstone’s equally clever granddaughter, Dee, also white, discover this last by following a trail of clues to (wait for it) a secret lab under a former insane asylum…a perfect setting for both weird science and a massively destructive climax. The author cranks up the horror by giving the box the ability to make tangible not just physical items, but fears and nightmares too. Also, by not blinding his characters to the device’s potential, he invites readers to imagine the implications for themselves.

A splendid adventure, hilarious and harrowing in turn and so strongly cast that even the precocious pocket primate doesn’t steal the show . (Science fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93627-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more