A charming undersea tale stressing the importance of not being sel-fish.

FISH FEUD!

From the Squidding Around series

A self-serving squid learns a lesson about friendship.

Set many leagues under the sea on a bright and cheery ocean bed, this series opener introduces Squizzard, a tomato-red squid with an outsize personality. His best friend is Toothy, a vegetarian great white shark who has legs and wears pants. They may be fish and cephalopod, but the routines of their friendship are familiar: They hunt for shells, build reef forts, and concoct elaborate games of pretend. However, a power imbalance is quickly evident as Squizzard casts himself in all the best roles, always leaving Toothy overshadowed. When Squizzard carelessly forgets his report and asks Toothy to cover for him in class, Toothy finally gets mad and declares their friendship over. With the help and gentle guidance of a kind seahorse, Squizzard decides to find the right path to win Toothy back. Readers will delight as Squizzard tries to change his egotistical ways; it is not a quick nor easy transition, and his silly missteps ring comically true. Author/illustrator Sherry brings an empathetic tale of self-examination and change to life with easy-to-read chapters and an eye-catching comics format, with colors by Dzioba. Sherry also skillfully weaves facts about ocean life into the narrative. Bubbly and undeniably cute, this is a must-read for fans of the Narwhal and Jelly series.

A charming undersea tale stressing the importance of not being sel-fish. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-63668-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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