Although no one will doubt the eventual outcome, since Sammy is way too cute to fail, this amusing tale will serve well as...

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THE SOMEWHAT TRUE ADVENTURES OF SAMMY SHINE

Sammy, a clever pet mouse, lives a contented life until his owner’s brother kidnaps him to serve as pilot for a remote-controlled plane. Then his adventures begin.

The plane gets away from the boy and crashes into distant woods, where Sammy encounters a community of mice, including a helpful young female, Phoebe. After his damaged plane—his only means to get back home—goes missing, he sets out to find Goggles, a raccoon rumored to have great ideas but who can only be reached after a long journey. Along the way, Sammy’s joined by a crow that can’t fly, a newt, a shrew, and finally, Phoebe. Their quest is threatened by an evil weasel and his wily band of rats. Characters are only thinly developed, and the story is just mildly suspenseful. It is so brief (despite page count) the potential dangers simply don’t get expanded upon enough to feel truly threatening. But the illustrations lift this effort above the pack. Cole’s soft, delicately shaded black-and-white artwork appears on nearly every spread, with numerous double-page spreads. The realistic woodland scenes populated with slightly anthropomorphized creatures beg for closer study.

Although no one will doubt the eventual outcome, since Sammy is way too cute to fail, this amusing tale will serve well as an early chapter book or read-aloud. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-866-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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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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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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