Informational and curriculum-friendly, a decent choice for fans of other STEAM-themed tales.

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RUNWAY ZOMBEE

A ZOMBIE BEE HUNTER'S JOURNAL

From the Science Squad series

Twelve-year-old Raksha Kumar has a “fashion brain” and a “science brain.”

Her science-geek self has to complete a final project over the summer to earn a badge (and, potentially, a trip to Hawaii). With her Science Squad, a citizen-science organization for children, she must find bees that may be infected with parasites, collecting them and watching them for signs of infection. But her fashionista self wants to attend Junior Fashion Camp at the same time, which she believes is her “golden ticket, the way out of all nerd-dom and into being recognized as more than a future lab nut.” By the end of a whirlwind summer, biracial Raksha realizes that she doesn’t have to choose between her two passions—and that “no one cares” if she is “two different things. Indian and Chinese, fashion and science—everything can coexist peacefully.” Raksha tells her story in journal form, with the occasional crossed-out word or phrase adding zest, and she includes factual sidebars (“Honeybee queens are treated like babies, not royalty. Workers get to travel outside the hive, but queens stay inside, laying eggs”). Olbey’s black-and-white illustrations also offer readers additional ways to engage with the story’s science. They also, sadly, perpetuate the misinformation that feral honeybees live in wasps’ nests. This lead title for a new, middle-grade nature- and science-focused series features a mixed-race protagonist whose ethnicity isn’t the main thrust of the narrative. Companion title Hatchling Hero publishes simultaneously, recounting a young Latina's involvement in sea turtle rescue.

Informational and curriculum-friendly, a decent choice for fans of other STEAM-themed tales. (additional facts, glossary, bibliography) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63163-165-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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