THE BOLDS TO THE RESCUE

From the Bolds series , Vol. 2

A winner of a sequel, just the ticket for lovers of Roald Dahl.

When word gets out that their hyena family’s succeeded in passing as human, the Bolds’ semidetached home in suburban London is besieged by animal refugees hoping to learn their secret.

First to move in (emerging from the toilet) is Sheila, a nearly full-grown crocodile, fed up with life in the sewers. Fifi, a French poodle intent on a career as a chanteuse, is followed by a homeless, pregnant cat, a turtle, and 15 sea gulls. Roger, an agoraphobic sheep, hopes to find less “outdoorsy” work, ideally as a nanny. Space is soon at a premium, even after Mr. McNumpty, the (disguised) grizzly next door, takes in some of the overflow. The cheery Bolds put up with chaos and overcrowding, but after two nervous racehorses fleeing their new owner, Dodgy Dean, join the household, Fred and Amelia take steps to equip residents with skills to manage on their own. Lessons on table manners, walking on hind legs, toileting, speaking and reading, plus career and wardrobe advice ensue, along with group therapy and emergency drills (evading discovery by humans). Despite progress, the racehorses, proving tough to disguise, are recaptured by Dodgy Dean to be sold for horsemeat. Luckily, the Bolds have a rescue plan. Interspersed with Fred’s groan-inducing jokes, liberally dotted with potty humor, aided and abetted by the evocative illustrations, the tale avoids didacticism, delivering its message of tolerance, inclusion, and kindness with irresistibly quirky, anarchic glee.

A winner of a sequel, just the ticket for lovers of Roald Dahl. (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1022-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

From the One and Only series , Vol. 1

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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