A book with an angelic soul: large, sharp, and uncompromising.

THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY

DiCamillo returns to fairy-tale mode with the story of a girl destined to unseat a king.

One by one the players take the stage: Answelica, a fearsome goat whose teeth mirror her soul—“large, sharp, and uncompromising”; hapless Brother Edik, who sees beauty everywhere; Beatryce, a bedraggled child who arrives at the monastery knowing only her first name and who shocks the monks by being able to write; Jack Dory, an orphan with a gift for mimicry; and finally Cannoc, an old man who has given up everything except laughter. (There are bad people also, of course, because this story takes place during a time of war, but none of them are given proper names.) Cast out from the monastery and endangered by villains, they take refuge in the dark woods where Beatryce begins to remember more than her name and attempts to answer the question, “what world is this I now inhabit, and how shall I live in it?” The story is told in language as clear and beautiful as an illuminated manuscript, with characters who spring instantly to life. The fairy-tale conventions give it a sense of timelessness and omnipresence without once becoming twee or unwieldy. Blackall’s luminous black-and-white illustrations and medieval-style spot art add to this feeling and are wonderful at conveying emotion through posture, pose, and delicate linework. Characters are described and drawn as White.

A book with an angelic soul: large, sharp, and uncompromising. (Fairy tale. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1361-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories.

FINAL SEASON

A star 12-year-old quarterback has a championship to win, a developing family tragedy to cope with, and a life-changing decision to make.

Barely disguising the autobiographical elements contained here in the wake of his own diagnosis of ALS, former Atlanta Falcons player Green places his protagonist, Ben Redd, in a football family and on an upstate New York team coached by his dad and two older brothers—all former gridiron stars themselves. Ben’s anticipation as he looks forward to a season that will be capped by a game against archrival Penn Yan battles with his terror as he watches his father’s NFL injuries come home to roost in slurred speech, loss of physical coordination, and, eventually, a frantic trip to the hospital for an emergency tracheotomy. But as Ben’s parents, both iron willed, clash over whether he should be allowed to follow the family career path (and one of his brothers even announces that none of his kids will ever play), the sport’s allure comes through in a series of exciting clashes, with Ben and wonderfully hard-nosed new teammate, Thea Jean, leading the on-field heroics on the way to a last-yard, smash-mouth finale that leaves him dazed and exultant, with a broken finger, a probable concussion…and a choice of futures. Though the cast is mostly male and mostly White, between them, Thea and Ben’s mom add strong female representation.

An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-248595-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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