SHOWOFF

From the Swindle series , Vol. 4

A bumpy, plot-driven ride that moves along at a brisk pace, enthusiastically catapulting toward a potentially disastrous and...

Intrepid man-with-a-plan Griffin is up to his old tricks in his fourth outing, accompanied by a cast of patient middle-school best friends, all on a mission to save an overly energetic dog.

After Savannah’s gigantic Doberman, Luthor, inexplicably trashes a public appearance by show dog Electra, resulting in an unfortunate tail injury to the valuable beagle, Electra’s owner sues her family and she’s forced to relinquish her beloved pet to the animal shelter. Classmates Griffin and Ben bring the dog home, which is not too difficult since Griffin’s parents are touring Europe, trying to sell a quirky new invention. All the boys need to do is hide Luthor in Griffin’s garage, train him, win a dog show championship and then turn the money that will pour in afterward over to Electra’s owner. If this scheme sounds highly improbable, well, that’s half the fun. Eventually, they end up at the world’s grandest dog show, with Luthor competing for the championship—if only they can thwart the wily criminal who’s trying to upset their efforts. This tale stands alone well, with marginal character development taking second place to the narrative’s nearly believable twists and turns. Ample dog-show details will appeal to pet enthusiasts. 

A bumpy, plot-driven ride that moves along at a brisk pace, enthusiastically catapulting toward a potentially disastrous and hilarious conclusion. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32059-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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