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Real and empathetic.

Fandom and friendship collide when middle school BFFs are tested.

In this middle-grade graphic stand-alone, Kara Dawson absolutely loves the TV show Shinpi Rider, about a masked cyclist who always perseveres to save the day. Kara’s life is pretty great, basking in Shinpi fandom with her best friend, Alice, and trusty ferret, Gidget. When Alice’s family suddenly moves two towns over, Kara’s world is thrown into upheaval. She decides to skip her first day of school to ride her bike to Alice’s new house and surprise her. Predictably, her journey does not go as expected, but she meets new friends along the way: Joe, a boy struggling to lift a heavy burden; Elaine, whose bike has been stolen by a bully; and Simon, whose older brother is tormenting him. When Kara finally makes it to Alice’s new home, she finds her friend changed. The girls have a falling-out; is their friendship over? Kara’s subsequent self-realization, though clearly spelled out, is approachable and made with a light hand. Kara is flawed and engaging, capturing the adolescent dichotomy of both fearlessness (in her altruism with strangers) and thoughtlessness (with those she cares about). Wilcox’s full-color illustrations emphasize characters’ faces and emotions. Shelve this among Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham’s Best Friends series or Hope Larson’s All Summer Long (2018). Kara and Alice are White; supporting cast members are diverse.

Real and empathetic. (Graphic fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35588-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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From the First Cat in Space series , Vol. 1

Epic lunacy.

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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