Vast libraries of humorous animal fantasies available both locally and from across the pond make this an easy title to...

GUINEA PIGS ONLINE

Fuzzy and Coco, two very different guinea pigs, are very good friends.

Fuzzy and Coco live in London with Ben and Henrietta Bliss, an animal-rescue worker and a veterinarian, respectively. Fuzzy loves to cook (though he’s bad at it), and Coco loves to talk about her relationship with the queen (no one believes her, but her origins are murky). When Fuzzy’s celebrity-chef idol, Scarlet Cleaver, opens a new restaurant nearby and advertises for guinea pigs, Fuzzy scampers out the cat flap despite Coco’s warnings. Coco turns to the Internet to find the restaurant. What she and new friend Eduardo find is terrifying-ish. Can they save Fuzzy? And does Coco really know the queen? Gray and Swift’s occasionally smile-inducing series debut may disturb its target audience stateside, who likely do not know guinea pigs are eaten elsewhere in the world. Several events played for laughs (an encounter with a fox posing as a guinea pig online, serving the queen a live guinea pig because there’s no time to cook it) are unfunny head-scratchers. Horne’s black-and-white illustrations are delightfully goofy if occasionally misplaced, but they and an associated website listing with some activities, recipes and Internet safety tips just don’t make this worthwhile.

Vast libraries of humorous animal fantasies available both locally and from across the pond make this an easy title to ignore. (Humor. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62365-037-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Mobius

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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