STAR IN THE STORM

A dog story in the best tradition of the genre: he’s enormous, under threat, and will prove himself a hero. Sirius isn’t just any dog; he’s an enormous Newfoundland who swims the breaststroke, hauls firewood across ice, locates a lost brooch on demand, and faithfully follows his master’s commands. Maggie, 12, has just heard that all non-shepherding dogs have been outlawed; if found, Sirius will be shot on sight, even though he has never killed any sheep. Hiding her beloved dog in a cave, Maggie eventually has to expose his existence to save the lives of 100 people trapped aboard a capsizing steamer. Sirius’s ability to swim is required to exchange lines from the boat to shore; using a pulley-and-chair system, every last passenger is brought to land safely. Sirius is elevated to hero status and his future is assured. Readers will be captivated by the scope of this story, which includes events of 1912, e.g., the sinking of the Titanic, as well as Newfoundlander language and customs, facts about the dogs, and details of the island, known as “the Beautiful Rock.” (map) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82905-1

Page Count: 150

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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IF THAT BREATHES FIRE, WE'RE TOAST!

Tucson gives a young San Diegan a warm welcome in more ways than one in this relaxed, readable debut. Rick Morales isn’t all that happy to be moving with his mother, Sylvia, to another state, but meeting Natalie, a friendly girl, and Madam [sic] Yang, a collie-sized, 500-year-old dragon, soon puts him into better spirits. Madam Yang does not grant wishes (“Do I look like a genie? You’ve been mythinformed”), but does breathe fire, and volunteers to transport Rick, Natalie, and her little brother, Ben, into magical adventures. Weaving in a budding romance between Sylvia and a local veterinarian, Stewart decorates the plot with comic set pieces, such as an ugly pet contest and a nearly disastrous encounter between Madam Yang and Nat’s deliciously princess-like cousin Olivia. Although everyone tends to take Madam Yang so much in stride that she seems more an exotic pet than an Event, the likable cast and tongue-in-cheek humor will keep readers turning the pages. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1430-2

Page Count: 117

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME

Scieszka and Lane’s intrepid heroes of The Time Warp Trio are once again up to their necks in very silly historical circumstances. Joe, Fred, and Sam are horsing around during their school play—which they wrote themselves—about the ancient deities of Greece. When a cardboard thunderbolt accidently hits the magic blue book stashed in Joe’s backpack, the three boys are transported back to ancient Greece—or so they think. When they meet some of the wisecracking gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus, they realize they’ve been transported to the fictionalized Greece of their play, complete with dialogue they wrote using “The Book of Snappy Insults.” While flinging around backhanded compliments with Hera (who’s not bad on the uptake), the three time travelers try to locate their blue book of magic so they can return home. Instead, they end up as that night’s entertainment for the gods. The opening jokes fall flat, but then Joe comes up with some last-minute parlor tricks. Just when everything’s going well, a pack of Greek monsters arrives, and the mountain top threatens to become a battlefield. The wordplay is still fast and funny, and fans of the series will not mind that the deities have become sort of stock types; the abundance of goofy Groucho Marx-style zingers will keep everyone else smiling. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-88596-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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