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From the Cartoon Classics series

A sharp, ultimately appealing corrective to Disney’s better-known confection.

The classic tale of the wooden boy who wants to become real gets a 21st-century update.

McMullan presents readers with a straightforward retelling of Pinocchio’s lies and trials based on the Carlo Collodi original. Those unfamiliar with that text will undoubtedly be surprised by what they find here. McMullan pulls no punches, recounting every step of the puppet’s journey, even when it doesn’t make much sense. Some will find the herky-jerky nature and bizarre violence of Collodi’s original tale off-putting. Characters that die one moment (Cricket, Blue Fairy, etc.) may then walk about without any explanation for their resuscitations the next. Fortunately Lemaitre’s art goes a long way toward softening some of the harsher elements of the tale, his cartoonish style offering a humanity and pathos to a character that might otherwise prove too flawed to love. The episodic nature of Pinocchio’s adventuring (the original book was syndicated in newspapers) pairs remarkably well with this simple format for emerging readers. Despite the series title—Cartoon Classic—the text-to-picture ratio slots this squarely in the early-chapter category rather than the graphic-novel section.

A sharp, ultimately appealing corrective to Disney’s better-known confection. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9699-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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