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

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. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013


A feel-good tale of a clever and determined stallion set against a well-developed landscape.

In mid-19th-century Nevada, a colt named Sky grows up to lead his band of wild horses.

Parry’s moving story follows the pattern of her recent animal tales, A Wolf Called Wander (2019) and A Whale of the Wild (2020), chronicling a wild animal’s life in the first person, imagining its point of view, and detailing and appreciating the natural world it inhabits. As Sky grows from wobbly newborn to leader of his family, he faces more than the usual challenges for colts who must fight their stallions or leave their herds when they are grown up. Fagan’s appealing black-and-white illustrations help readers envision this survival story. Sky’s adventures include forced service with the Pony Express; being befriended by an enslaved Paiute boy; escaping to find his now-captured band; and helping them escape the silver miners who’d destroyed their world. Animal lovers will applaud his ingenuity and stubbornness. Although Sky’s band has suffered serious injuries (his mother is blind), he and Storm, a mare who was his childhood companion, lead them toward safety in a new wilderness. The writer’s admiration for these wild horses and her concerns about human destruction of their environment come through even more clearly in a series of concluding expository essays discussing the wild horses, the Indigenous Americans, the natural history of the Great Basin, silver mining, and the Pony Express.

A feel-good tale of a clever and determined stallion set against a well-developed landscape. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2023

ISBN: 9780062995957

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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