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The spelling-challenged correspondent of Little Wolf’s Book of Badness (1999) and Little Wolf’s Diary of Daring Deeds (p.641) turns from would-be schoolmaster to a new vocation in this heavily illustrated eyeroller. Thanks to some canny advertising (“Learn secret powers from our Bigbad ghost like how to popup up all of a suddenly like toast . . .”), Little Wolf and his friends Yeller and Stubbs, and little brother Smellybreff, draw a crowd of prospective students to Haunted Hall School—only to have them frightened away by the bottle-dwelling, “bakebean” chomping ghost of Uncle Bigbad. But boastful Bigbad also offers a way to stave off financial ruin, promising to share his ability to uncover hidden treasure if the younglings can find someone he can’t scare. Enter Normus, a bear cub with a big enough chip on his shoulder to stand up to Bigbad—but enter also Mister Twister the fox, master of disguise, who takes advantage of a distraction to, well, spirit Bigbad and his bottle away. Little Wolf et al. reinvent themselves as the Yelloweyes Forest Detective Agency (“Tracking Tricking Dizgizzing Our Speciality”) and trot off, hot on the trail. Stay tuned. Ross scatters inkblots and line drawings liberally across the pages of Little Wolf’s letters home, capturing the combination of low-level-foolery and creative orthography that characterizes this farcical import. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2000

ISBN: 1-57505-412-4

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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The author of Babe, the Gallant Pig (1985) offers another winner with this tale of a bright pig and her canny young keeper “training” a spoiled princess. When Princess Penelope demands a pig for her eighth birthday, her over-indulgent father requires every pig keeper in the country to assemble with a likely porcine candidate. The princess settles on Lollipop, who turns out to be the sole possession of penniless orphan Johnny Skinner. As only Johnny can get Lollipop to sit, roll over, or poop outdoors, soon lad and pig are comfortably ensconced together in a royal stall—at least until the pig can be persuaded to respond to the Princess’s commands. It’s only the beginning of a meteoric rise for Johnny, and for Lollipop too, as the two conspire to teach the princess civilized manners, and end up great favorites of the entire royal family. Barton (Rattletrap Car, p. 504, etc.) captures Penelope’s fuming, bratty character perfectly in a generous array of line drawings, and gives Lollipop an expression of affectionate amusement that will win over readers as effortlessly as it wins over the princess and her parents. Move over, Wilbur. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1269-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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