The simplistic mysteries and silly jokes are in line with other series outings, “special edition” status notwithstanding.

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THE HUNT FOR THE HUNDREDTH KEY

From the Geronimo Stilton series

Geronimo Stilton teams up with his sister, Thea, and cousin Trap to solve the mystery of a long-lost castle recently rediscovered in spooky woods.

Right after his grandfather wakes him to demand that Geronimo write a special new book for the students of New Mouse City Elementary School to celebrate their 100th day of school, Thea and Trap have a bigger surprise for Geronimo. Their city’s founder, Grant Gentlemouse, was rumored to have built a secret castle for his mystery bride, and now Thea’s found it, surrounded by a giant hedge of thorny, white roses. She and Trap want to film a television special on it, but they need an assistant to carry equipment and bankroll it, so they call Geronimo. They explore the creepy castle, with Trap pranking scaredy-mouse Geronimo, and discover the mystery bride to be yet another scrivening Stilton, Rose. The rose theme and creepy setting work well in illustrations, especially full-page spreads with art or games, though the series’ trademark design flourish of printing words and phrases in colorful display type within the narrative jars the reading rhythm. Following this book, there’s a bonus story almost as long in which Geronimo wins a cruise trip. There’s a thief on board, and some things seem odd with the beautiful mouse flirting with him. The last feature is a few pages of jokes as delightfully cheesy as ought to be expected from a mouse named Stilton.

The simplistic mysteries and silly jokes are in line with other series outings, “special edition” status notwithstanding. (Graphic adventure. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-08778-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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