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Whybrow’s (Little Wolf’s Book of Badness, 1999) second Little Wolf story includes every element needed to make an engrossing read for children: lost gold, travel, a villain, a ghost, and no parents! Little Wolf is joined by his cousin Yeller at his dead uncle’s Academy. They decide to give the Academy a new image by dubbing it the Adventure Academy and equipping it with the scariest rides that money can buy. They’re rich, you see; they have found Uncle Bigbad’s gold! As their plans progress, Little Wolf’s younger brother, Smellybreff, shows up and insists on hoarding all the gold in a safe to which only he knows the combination. Then trouble arrives. Trouble in the name of Mister Marvo, who has strangely mesmeric eyes and promises to build the best Adventure Playground ever if they give him three “wheelbarrowsful” of gold! Without doing a stitch of work, Marvo steals the safe and kidnaps Smellybreff. Thus begins an adventure over steep mountains and deep water (all carefully recorded in Little Wolf’s letters to his parents and apparently included in his diary) as our brave wolves (and a young crow) pursue the thief with only their own wily wits to rely on. Ending with a haunting twist, a lesson about greed is learned. Full of fanciful wordplay and Ross’ (Why?, 1999, etc.) amusing illustrations, this book demands to be read aloud! Peppered with phonetic spelling and lots of obvious mistakes, the format will let children revel in being smarter that Little Wolf. (map) (Fiction. 810)

Pub Date: May 16, 2000

ISBN: 1-57505-411-6

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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From the One and Only series , Vol. 4

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series.

Beloved gorilla Ivan becomes a father to rambunctious twins in this finale to a quartet that began with 2012’s Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan.

Life hasn’t always been easy for silverback gorilla Ivan, who’s spent most of his life being mistreated in captivity. Now he’s living in a wildlife sanctuary, but he still gets to see his two best friends. Young elephant Ruby lives in the grassy habitat next door, and former stray dog Bob has a home with one of the zookeepers. All three were rescued from the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan’s expanded world includes fellow gorilla Kinyani—the two are about to become parents, and Ivan is revisiting the traumas of his past in light of what he wants the twins to know. When the subject inevitably comes up, Applegate’s trust and respect for readers is evident. She doesn’t shy away from hard truths as Ivan wrestles with the fact that poachers killed his family. Readers will need the context provided by knowledge of the earlier books to feel the full emotional impact of this story. The rushed ending unfortunately falls flat, detracting from the central message that a complex life can still contain hope. Final art not seen.

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series. (gorilla games, glossary, author’s note) (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221123

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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