Budding biologists who have taken first steps with the likes of Marianne Bertes’ Going Home: The Mysteries of Animal...

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MIGRATION NATION

ANIMALS ON THE GO FROM COAST TO COAST

O’Sullivan invites readers to join North American animals who regularly take to the “Herptile Highway,” the “Polar Bear Parkway,” “Bison Boulevard,” or “Salmon Street.”

Whether driven by seasonal changes in food sources, the “need to breed,” or, like monarch butterflies, more mysterious urges, some animals travel hundreds or even thousands of miles over cyclical routes. The author highlights a dozen creatures and mentions others. She marvels at the seemingly miraculous navigation skills of salmon and gray whales and sounds ominous notes about rapidly declining populations of monarchs and polar bears; she describes efforts to create safer crossings over paved roads for migratory snakes and amphibians (“herptiles”) in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest and migration corridors through fenced-in land for pronghorn antelopes in Wyoming and elsewhere. Along with maps and photos aplenty, she tucks in kid-friendly factual snippets about each creature, as well as specific locations where each can be observed on its habitual round. Though many of the photographs go uncaptioned and so add little beyond eye candy, this broad and breezy overview will stimulate young animal lovers’ “need to read” about one of the natural world’s behavioral wonders.

Budding biologists who have taken first steps with the likes of Marianne Bertes’ Going Home: The Mysteries of Animal Migration, illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio (2010), will find themselves drawn further down that road. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62354-050-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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An almost-orphan and a rescue dog share lots of heart in a winsome coming-of-age story.

A HOME FOR GODDESSES AND DOGS

After her mother succumbs to heart disease, 13-year-old Lydia goes to live with her mother’s older sister, Aunt Brat, and her wife, Eileen, in their small Connecticut town.

Almost immediately the loving couple adopts a large rescue dog that becomes mostly Lydia’s responsibility. The unfortunate animal isn’t even housebroken, and Lydia’s most decidedly not a dog person, so caring for Guffer is challenging. So is trying to be cordial—but not too friendly—with her 12 eighth grade classmates. Previously home-schooled, Lydia’s not quite ready for the friend thing. Secrets, like who could have been responsible for maiming two baby goats or why Brat is secretly caring for them at a neighbor’s farm, complicate life. Background plotlines (an angry neighbor who hates Guffer, Lydia’s absent father, and the cause of Guffer’s anxieties) all gradually evolve. Similarly, Lydia slowly learns to cope with her grief, sometimes aided by spending time with “the goddesses”—artistic collages of strong women that she and her mother crafted. Gentle, fully fleshed characters (most seemingly white) are lovingly drawn in this long tale of healing, but the pacing is sometimes frustratingly slow. Although she’s clearly intelligent, Lydia’s first-person narrative often seems more like the voice of an adult than a young teen. In spite of these minor flaws, her poignant tale is engaging and uplifting.

An almost-orphan and a rescue dog share lots of heart in a winsome coming-of-age story. (Fiction.10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-279678-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A sure draw for the Kung-Fu Panda crowd, high on body count but low on gory details, it doesn't take itself too seriously...

THE BATTLE OF RIPTIDE

From the Shark Wars series , Vol. 2

Toothy rivals introduced in the opener, Shark Wars (2011), unite in the sequel to battle an army of shark invaders from the far end of the Big Blue.

Having learned that he’s not fat (or “big-cartilaged,” as he prefers to put it) but a supersized prehistoric Megalodon, young Gray is propelled into playing a leading role in repelling a disciplined force of shark troops from Indi, led by King Finnivus, a spoiled and vicious brat with visions of world conquest. Fortunately, Gray is being tutored in martial “Shar-kata” by Takiza, an ancient and bad-tempered betta (Siamese fighting fish). He also finds common purpose with other “shivers” (the basic shark communal unit—though more open-minded shivers admit other species too) and discovers unexpected allies who arrive (thanks to Takiza’s ability to span entire oceans with magical speed) in the nick of time to turn the tide of the climactic battle. When Gray cries, or pants with exhaustion, the overall anthropomorphic conceit wears thin, but Altbacker expends some effort concocting his undersea setting and fills out the finny cast with familiar martial-arts–style character types.

A sure draw for the Kung-Fu Panda crowd, high on body count but low on gory details, it doesn't take itself too seriously and is fully sequel-enabled. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59514-377-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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