From the Dog Knight series , Vol. 1

All hail the paw-some Dog Knight!

A dog-loving tween drummer discovers a magical canine connection.

After coming out to their supportive mom and (now ex–) best friend, Dallas, nonbinary Frankie Bryant faces bullying from Dallas and others that leaves them feeling unsure of where they fit. After two run-ins with a friendly golden retriever who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, Frankie hits their head and is transported to the Omniversal Doghouse, the palace of “the Pawtheon, the secret legion of dog heroes.” The Pawtheon lend Frankie a helmet that allows them to understand dog-kind. They learn of a magical alliance between humans and dogs: Humans care for dogs, and dogs protect humans from chaos-sowing, batlike gremlins. The Pawtheon have recruited Frankie as the next potential Dog Knight, connector and protector of the two realms. The catch? They have to successfully complete six trials, one for each of the dog virtues, back in the human realm while living with their dog-allergic mom. Readers will root for Frankie, whose desire to find their place will resonate. The rebuilding of Frankie and Dallas’ fractured friendship is careful and authentic. Sparse backgrounds leave space for expressive human and dog faces to shine. Frankie and their mom read Black; background characters are racially diverse. The gremlins use ungrammatical English, unfortunately making an implicit connection between grammar and morality, but quality queer representation and a strong narrative voice make this sweet, funny series opener a winner.

All hail the paw-some Dog Knight! (content warning) (Graphic fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9781250756725

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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