Plenty of humor, along with the intrepid kitty, keeps things sailing.

ATTICUS CLAW GOES ASHORE

From the Atticus Claw series , Vol. 4

The second U.S. release of the British Atticus Claw series finds Atticus outwitting pirates at sea.

This installment takes place after two earlier books not yet published in the U.S. but contains enough back story that readers will have little trouble following the series. Atticus has settled in happily with the Cheddar family and enjoys his new job as a community police cat. A message in a bottle (found by a kitten during a beach cleanup) hints at a long-lost magical mermaid who can grant any wish. This may prove useful when the terrible pirate Capt. Black Beard-Jumper (a mysterious term never explained to the U.S. audience) inflicts a terrible death curse on Inspector Cheddar. Only the mermaid can lift the curse, so they must race against the dreadful pirate captain, who has joined forces with the nasty trio of magpies from Atticus Claw Breaks the Law (2016), to find her in time. The Cheddar family and Atticus join their friend Mr. Tucker, a former pirate himself, on a voyage to find the mermaid. Of course, things go awry, and it looks as though Inspector Cheddar has had it, but readers will not be surprised that Atticus finds a way to win. Gray keeps the story mostly light, although a story about drowning kittens adds a dark note. The principal humans appear to be white.

Plenty of humor, along with the intrepid kitty, keeps things sailing. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-571-30531-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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