Readers will be eager for the follow-up adventures of Sticker Girl.

STICKER GIRL

From the Sticker Girl series , Vol. 1

Tashjian introduces a smart, young Latina protagonist in a strong series opener for young readers.

Shy, brown-skinned, 9-year-old sticker-enthusiast Martina Rivera moved with her family to Los Angeles less than a year ago, and she still hasn’t collected the courage to make any school friends. When Martina’s dad returns from a business trip, he hands Martina a new sheet of stickers. An amazed Martina discovers that the stickers magically come to life, with sound effects: “Whoosh! Poof! Bang!” Friendships emerge with a cast of magical, shenanigan-prone pals: Craig, a caring yet curmudgeonly cupcake; Lucinda, a whimsical, seemingly perpetually sleepy fairy; Nora, a kind ladybug with a karaoke machine; a trio of rambunctious, playful puppies; and Evelyn, a pink Pegasus, among other lively stickers. For Martina, making friends at school is no piece of (cup)cake, especially when she gets paired with two extroverted white classmates, Bev Swanson and Mike Belmont. Narrated by Martina with some Spanish interspersed, the story has a fast-paced plotline and well-developed characters. With humor, delicacy, and creativity, Tashjian folds in cultural and socio-economic references to develop Martina and her family while also inserting fun and informative scientific facts gleaned from Martina’s lessons at school. Clouds, confetti, stars, and bubble-shaped letters accompany Wilmink’s grayscale depictions and match the sticker motif without being overbearing.

Readers will be eager for the follow-up adventures of Sticker Girl. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-335-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

A WOLF CALLED WANDER

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The young folk and (of course) the animals are engagingly wrought in this tale with a strong ecological message.

WILLODEEN

An orphan loner’s small town faces a hard future after it unwittingly disrupts a natural cycle.

Willodeen is lucky that elderly retired thespians Mae and Birdie took her in after the wildfire that killed her parents and brother, not only because they’re a loving couple, but because they let her roam the woods in search of increasingly rare screechers—creatures so vile-tempered and stinky that the village elders of Perchance have put a bounty on them. The elders have other worries, though: The migratory hummingbears that have long nested in the area, drawing tourists to the lucrative annual Autumn Faire, have likewise nearly vanished. Could there be a connection? If there is, Willodeen is just the person to find it—but who would believe her? Applegate’s characters speak in pronouncements about life and nature that sometimes seem to address readers more than other characters, but the winsome illustrations lighten the thematic load. Screechers appear much like comically fierce warthogs and hummingbears, as small teddies with wings. Applegate traces a burgeoning friendship between her traumatized protagonist and Connor, a young artist who turns found materials into small animals so realistic that one actually comes to life. In the end, the townsfolk do listen and pitch in to make amends. Red-haired, gray-eyed Willodeen is cued as White; Connor has brown skin, and other human characters read as White by default.

The young folk and (of course) the animals are engagingly wrought in this tale with a strong ecological message. (Eco-fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14740-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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