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

THE BOLDS TO THE RESCUE

From the Bolds series , Vol. 2

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: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

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. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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