With a story like an old-fashioned episode of Star Trek, this is a wonderful science-fiction introduction for young readers.

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ALIEN ESCAPE

From the Geronimo Stilton Spacemice series , Vol. 1

Explore space with Geronimo Stiltonix, futuristic analog of the familiar Geronimo Stilton.

Geronimo Stiltonix, captain of the prestigious MouseStar 1, “would rather be writing novels than steering a spaceship.” His crew’s made up of, in part, other familiar Stilton characters with -ix added to their last names, the personal assistant robot Assistatrix and all-purpose robot Robotix. He may be captain, but Geronimo is the last to find out that his spaceship is in danger of exploding. To stabilize the engine, they must obtain the rare element tetrastellium. Luckily, a nearby planet, Rattos, might have some. Upon arriving, they are hailed by friendly pink mousoids who offer them tetrastellium. But their tetrastellium is pink instead of the customary blue. Even stranger, despite the great value and rarity of tetrastellium, the pink mousoids refuse any payment but friendship. Suspicious, Geronimo and a team go to Rattos’ surface on reconnaissance. Sure enough, strange pink happenings onboard the ship presage the takeover of the control room by an evil, sentient mass of pink goo. It takes clever thinking by the away team to defeat the goo and save the ship. The format includes the customary Stilton staples: wild types and colors, playful illustrations and sidebars that elaborate on aspects of the fictional world.

With a story like an old-fashioned episode of Star Trek, this is a wonderful science-fiction introduction for young readers. (the spacemice creed) (Graphic science fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64650-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action.

THE SILVER ARROW

The best birthday present is a magical train full of talking animals—and a new job.

On Kate’s 11th birthday, she’s surprised by the arrival of rich Uncle Herbert. Uncle Herbert bears a gift: a train. Not a toy train, a 102.36-ton steam engine, with cars that come later. When Kate and her brother, Tom, both white, play in the cab of the Silver Arrow, the train starts up, zooming to a platform packed with animals holding tickets. Thus begins Kate and Tom’s hard work: They learn to conduct the train and feed the fire box, instructed by the Silver Arrow, which speaks via printed paper tape. The Silver Arrow is a glorious playground: The library car is chockablock with books while the candy car is brimful of gobstoppers and gummy bears. But amid the excitement of whistle-blowing and train conducting, Kate and Tom learn quiet messages from their animal friends. Some species, like gray squirrels and starlings, are “invaders.” The too-thin polar bear’s train platform has melted, leaving it almost drowned. Their new calling is more than just feeding the coal box—they need to find a new balance in a damaged world. “Feeling guilty doesn’t help anything,” the mamba tells them. Humans have survived so effectively they’ve taken over the world; now, he says, “you just have to take care of it.” (Illustrations not seen.)

Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53953-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

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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