More amiably subversive, anarchic fun.


When the Bold family (hyenas living incognito as London suburbanites) and friends head to the seaside on holiday, with Bobby disguised as family dog “Stinky,” nothing goes as planned.

The deceit begins when an encounter with a school bully leaves Bobby with a sprained leg. Certain that a doctor would see through his disguise, his parents follow ursine neighbor Mr. McNumpty’s suggestion and take Bobby to a veterinarian instead, overcoming Bobby’s reluctance by letting him choose his name. Still healing, Stinky remains in disguise on the Cornish coast. Meanwhile, the vacation must go on: A sand castle is built, then destroyed; Uncle Tony and Miranda the marmoset prove surprisingly adept at surfing (why is revealed later). Jealous of Bobby’s freedom to express his hyena nature, his twin, Betty, teases him, but when he disappears, she’s as worried as their parents. New friends Pamela, a short-winded puffin (she used to smoke), and dolphins Galileo and his chums don’t hide their animal natures; Bertha, owner of Tiddles Tea Shop, is a cougar. Disguised or not, each assists in the hunt for Bobby. The series’ best illustrations thus far take full advantage of the maritime setting and depict human characters as racially diverse. The genially intrusive narrator throws in a little suspense and points the occasional moral. The Bolds don’t just tolerate difference, they embrace it. Mr. Bold’s ubiquitous, cheerily horrible Christmas-cracker puns should amuse young riddle aficionados along with a few limericks (the sort found in your classier crackers).

More amiably subversive, anarchic fun. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-0044-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...


Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?