A clever spin on coming-of-age adventures with Antarctic appeal.

THE EASTWIND PENGUIN

THE CALL TO SERVE

A brave baby penguin joins the U.S. Coast Guard in this fanciful celebration of the military branch from team Meyers and Van Keirsbilck (The Legend of Objee, 2013).

A mother and father penguin are proud of their son-to-be, still inside his egg. When the adorably puffy penguin chick hatches (in a painting by Van Keirsbilck sure to make readers say “Awww!”), he begins to develop a strong sense of adventure. Warned to stay away from Seal Rock, the baby penguin is sure he can outswim any old seal. When he dares to try it, his worried mother races to the water only to find her son proud of his own accomplishments. Soon, baby penguin is off on another adventure: mountain climbing. From atop the mountain, he discovers the Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind, and though he’s initially frightened, he soon warms up to the crew, listening to their stories of brave rescues. When baby penguin eventually returns home, he learns his parents went up the mountain to find him, and now they need a rescue! Leading the penguin team and joined by his brave Coast Guard shipmates, he rescues his parents and leaves home to join further Coast Guard rescues. Meyers’ text is dense, with challenging vocabulary words for emerging readers (“tobogganed,” “gang plank”), but Van Keirsbilck’s penguin paintings will entice animal lovers, and his mixed painted and drawn images of the Coast Guard may inspire interest in that organization.

A clever spin on coming-of-age adventures with Antarctic appeal.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 29

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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