With this series, youngsters will find reading smooth sailing and look forward to future escapades. Next up: The circus...


From the Three-Ring Rascals series , Vol. 3

In the third installment of the endearing Three-Ring Rascals chapter books, Sir Sidney’s circus brings cruise-ship entertainment to a new level, and Brambles’ heart grows as large as an ocean.

Sir Sidney continues to work with his manager, Barnabas Brambles, on being kind. Bert and Gert, the circus mice, see a long road ahead, but little do they know a sea change is coming. A letter from a Miss LaPasta arrives, inviting the circus aboard a cruise ship—all except Brambles! Miss LaPasta has “heard he’s the meanest man alive.” With that, Sir Sidney determines they will go, with Brambles. It’s only after they embark that they discover that Miss LaPasta is a lonely child who did not tell her mother, Capt. LaPasta, about the invitation. Worse, Sir Sidney is laid low by seasickness, while Brambles becomes lovesick for the captain. And although the ensemble thrills the passengers with their antics and acts, the unhappy captain sees ruin and disaster. Then they hit an iceberg! The adventures are captured in text that fully integrates art and speech bubbles, geography lessons are gratis, and the climax is marked by a meatball version of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” All’s well that ends with wedding bells.

With this series, youngsters will find reading smooth sailing and look forward to future escapades. Next up: The circus tours Europe! (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61620-365-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.


From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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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: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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