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. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Dizzyingly silly.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

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 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.


From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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