BEASTIE

What if some nice American kids, sturdy representatives of their generation's environmental concerns, were the first to spot a monster that their parents were stalking with full scientific gear? This time out, McHargue, whose interest in mythological creatures and the like dates back at least to The Beasts of Never (1968), spins an engaging tale with a satisfying outcome to just that situation. Soon after arriving at a Scottish loch (not Loch Ness, but very like it) where a major search is being mounted, Mary has made friends with Theo, whose scientist parents are photographers for the expedition, and Scott, whose preening dad is director. Skeptics all, the kids rig a hoax: a string of hot-water bottles that the sophisticated scanners read as a segmented underwater creature. Soon after, they are astonished to see Tayzie, the local cook's little sister, sporting in the loch with a genuine dinosaur-like creature. Suddenly, it's not a game: when they realize that the adults are rigging a cruel trap, they manage to save ``Beastie'' by luring her out of her secluded bay before the trap is set. There are some weak links here (a character whose appearance bodes more menace than ever materializes; the expedition's vague focus), and the wait for Beastie's first appearance two thirds through seems long. Still, the kids are likable and believable, the lively narrative holds attention, and the monster-saving scenario is a winner. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-385-30589-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.).

POPPY

From the Poppy series , Vol. 3

An adolescent mouse named Poppy is off on a romantic tryst with her rebel boyfriend when they are attacked by Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules over the area.

He kills the boyfriend, but Poppy escapes and Mr. Ocax vows to catch her. Mr. Ocax has convinced all the mice that he is their protector when, in fact, he preys on them mercilessly. When the mice ask his permission to move to a new house, he refuses, blaming Poppy for his decision. Poppy suspects that there is another reason Mr. Ocax doesn't want them to move and investigates to clear her name. With the help of a prickly old porcupine and her quick wits, Poppy defeats her nemesis and her own fears, saving her family in the bargain. 

The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.). (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09483-9

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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