GUS & GERTIE AND THE LUCKY CHARMS

Multiple Edgar Award–winning Nixon plunges her penguin sleuths (Gus & Gertie and the Missing Pearl, 2000) into a chilly new case. Clad in complementary flowered, rubber swim caps, Gus and Gertie make their way through a tent crowded with feathered and furred athletes to register for the Animal Winter Olympics—only to discover that synchronized swimming is not a winter event. Worse yet, Gertie’s lucky fish pin vanishes in the hubbub—as do all of the contenders’ lucky charms. Sharp-eyed camera bug Gus fingers (okay, flippers) the culprits—a pair of pack rats named Mugs and Thugs—thanks to a set of revealing Polaroids, then joins Gertie in a wild chase down snow-covered slopes to recover the loot. Not only are deGroat’s brightly colored illustrations just as action-packed as the plot, but she strews them with visual clues for alert young detectives to pick out. Gus and Gertie may not achieve their Olympian dream, but they’ll give Nate the Great, or Cam Jansen, a run for their money any day. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-58717-099-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: SeaStar/North-South

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2001

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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FIDDLIN' SAM

In a family memoir of the most affecting kind, readers are invited to a long-ago time in the Ozark Mountains and the story of a musician who owned “the clothes on his back and a fine old lionhead fiddle.” Fiddlin’ Sam is the inheritor of the peripatetic, minstrel’s life of his father, who taught Sam his art, saying, “This ain’t a gift, Son. It’s a loan. You gotta pass the music along.” Sam accepts the food that appreciative people give him, but politely refuses their offer of a bed. When a rattler bites him, Sam fears he has failed his calling; the music will die with him. In the feverish time that follows, someone takes care of him, a young man whom Sam hopes will take up the gift and carry it along—but the boy has other plans. In the years that follow, Sam meets another young man on the road who reminds him of the first one, and, indeed, is his son. Their path together lasts long enough for Sam to pass along his gift and its joys and burdens before he dies. An endpiece dedication allows readers to glimpse aspects of the story that are based in truth. A rhythmic refrain underscores the emotions of the story, and even acts as the vehicle of the ascension of Sam’s soul at death. Gerig’s watercolors deliver the scenic beauty of the region and carry their own version of a familial tribute. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1999

ISBN: 0-87358-742-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rising Moon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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