This fast-paced series outing has a spunky, likable heroine but suffers from authenticity issues.

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A PIGLET CALLED TRUFFLE

From the Jasmine Green Rescues series , Vol. 1

Plucky Jasmine Green will do anything to save a helpless animal.

Jasmine is the daughter of a veterinarian mother and farmer father. Jasmine loves the animals on Oak Tree Farm, where the family lives, and dreams of growing up and starting her own animal-rescue center. In this series opener, Jasmine accompanies her mother on a medical visit to a neighboring farm, where she discovers a baby pig on the verge of death. The runt of the litter, the piglet is so small and weak that the farmer doesn’t think she’s worth rescuing. Outraged, Jasmine sneaks the piglet out in her coat, determined to give Truffle a chance at life. In the simultaneously publishing sequel, A Duckling Called Button, Jasmine rescues orphaned eggs. Jasmine’s sparkling personality, no-nonsense resourcefulness, and fiery commitment to wildlife make her a compelling heroine. The well-paced plot intertwined with unusual facts about animals and farms makes for a page-turning read. Jasmine’s biracial background, however, is slightly puzzling. Her father seems to be white, and her mother’s identity is implied by a curious combination of a Muslim given name (Nadia) and Sikh surname (Singh), making her identity difficult to pin down. Aside from Jasmine’s complexion and a passing reference to kati rolls, the South Asian part of her identity is never explored.

This fast-paced series outing has a spunky, likable heroine but suffers from authenticity issues. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1024-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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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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