Although the language is a bit stilted and the message far from subtle, this Danish translation, first in a four-part...

THE SHIPWRECK

From the Inuk Quartet series , Vol. 1

When Leiv, a Viking boy, is shipwrecked near Greenland, two Inuit siblings, Apuluk and Narua, rescue him and eventually bring him to their community. 

In 1000 C.E., Norsemen traveled to Greenland, but there were few contacts with the Inuit community. At first, the Inuits want nothing to do with Leiv, but because he demonstrates that he knows some of their language and seems peaceful, they accept him. This is a harsh adventure tale: Leiv loses several toes due to frostbite, and Apuluk is attacked by a polar bear. From its opening scene of a blood feud started by Leiv’s father’s killing and the rigors of Arctic life, the characters act as adults despite their adolescent ages. The Inuit life is idealized, in comparison to the warlike, possession-hungry Norse culture. Narua is portrayed as a fearless young woman, but then she only wants a needle when the three young people find the Norse settlement near the end. Is Riel’s message a little heavy?  Heavily illustrated with full-page bold, stylized watercolors, some double-page spreads and occasional vignettes, this transitional chapter book employs a large font and very generous white space. 

Although the language is a bit stilted and the message far from subtle, this Danish translation, first in a four-part series, will appeal to those seeking adventure, strong friendship and survival stories at a lower reading level than usual . (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-84686-335-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A kid adventurer with a disability makes this steampunk offering stand out.

BRIGHTSTORM

From the Brightstorm series , Vol. 1

Orphaned twins, an adventurer dad lost to an ice monster, and an airship race around the world.

In Lontown, 12-year-old twins Arthur and Maudie learn that their explorer father has gone missing on his quest to reach South Polaris, the crew of his sky-ship apparently eaten by monsters. As he’s accused of sabotage, their father’s property is forfeit. The disgraced twins are sent off to live in a garret in a scene straight out of an Edwardian novel à la A Little Princess. Maudie has the consolation of her engineering skills, but all Arthur wants is to be an adventurer like his father. A chance to join Harriet Culpepper’s journey to South Polaris might offer excitement and let him clear his father’s name—if only he can avoid getting eaten by intelligent ice monsters. Though some steampunk set dressing is appropriately over-the-top (such as a flying house, thinly depicted but charming), adaptive tools for Arthur’s disability are wonderfully realistic. His iron arm is a standard, sometimes painful passive prosthesis. The crew adapts the airship galley for Arthur’s needs, even creating a spiked chopping board. Off the ship, Arthur and Maudie meet people and animals in vignettes that are appealingly rendered but slight. Harriet teaches the white twins respect for the cultures they encounter on these travels, though they are never more than observers of non-Lontowners’ different ways.

A kid adventurer with a disability makes this steampunk offering stand out. (Steampunk. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-324-00564-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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This oblique homage to a now-creaky classic is lit by friendships, heroic feats, and exceptional art.

KENNY & THE BOOK OF BEASTS

From the Kenny & the Dragon series

A long-eared young hero takes on a witch bent on trapping rare legendary creatures in a magical book.

Not so much a pastiche of E. Nesbit’s short story “Book of Beasts” as an original novel with cribbed elements, this adventuresome outing regathers and expands the animal cast of DiTerlizzi’s 2008 reworking of The Reluctant Dragon (titled Kenny & the Dragon) for a fresh challenge. As if coping with a dozen baby sisters and tending the bookshop of his questing mentor, Sir George E. Badger, aren’t hard enough, Kenny Rabbit feels abandoned by his best friend, dessert-loving dragon Grahame—who happily recognizes the supposedly mythical manticore that springs from the pages of a grimoire as an acquaintance from olden days. Avid to collect magical creatures of all sorts, the book’s owner, sinister opossum Eldritch Nesbit, tempts Kenny into an ill-considered bargain. But once he sees not only the manticore, but Grahame too snapped up, Kenny joins allies, notably his redoubtable crush Charlotte the squirrel, in a rumbustious rescue that also frees a host of unicorns and other long-vanished marvels. Aside from the odd griffin or al-mi’raj (a horned rabbit from Persian lore and an outlier in an otherwise Eurocentric cast), everyone in the lively, accomplished illustrations, from Kenny’s impossibly adorable sibs on, sports amusingly anthropomorphic dress and body language.

This oblique homage to a now-creaky classic is lit by friendships, heroic feats, and exceptional art. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8316-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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