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A deeply satisfying, page-turning, genre-defying read.

A restless, adventure-seeking tween finds herself in a special library.

Eleven-year-old Delilah “Dally” Peteharrington is struggling with the death of her grandfather and the loss of the love, acceptance, and excitement he brought to her life. Her mother grieves by becoming more rigid, insisting on lessons to prepare Dally to take over the family business. After her mother refuses to allow her to join an after-school club, Dally steals an envelope Grandpa left her, which her mom has insisted on locking away until she’s come of age. Inside, she finds a mysterious map that leads her to a library full of books that are portals to the past. From them, Dally learns things her mother refuses to talk about and has adventures she never could have imagined, including going on a pirate ship. Dally is biracial; her mom is white, but Dally knows little about her deceased Black father, and the more she learns about both sides of her family, the more intrigued she becomes. It becomes clear that her destiny is greater than simply assuming the place her mother is preparing her for. Multiple award-winner Magoon has crafted an engrossing story that skillfully combines a coming-of-age story with fantasy and historical fiction. Dally is an irresistible protagonist, full of curiosity and longing for the joy she experienced with her grandfather. The lively, well-written narrative contains many surprises, pulling readers into Dally’s life and the incredible choices she must make.

A deeply satisfying, page-turning, genre-defying read. (Time-travel fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781536230888

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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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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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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