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

A TRUE HOME

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.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

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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