Fans of Book 1 will enjoy hopping around time and space with Elara and her friends again.

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PROJECT TERRA BITES BACK

From the Project Terra series , Vol. 2

Aspiring terraformer Elara Vaughn is back after summer break.

But the Seven Systems School of Terraforming Sciences and Arts has been closed—news that didn’t make it to her remote planet. Now she’s in a new school that’s situated on a spaceship, and it’s got a decidedly military cast. Worse, her nemesis from last year, Suue Damo’n, is Elara’s new roommate, and neither girl is thrilled. Elara knows something is really wrong when she receives a chrono-hopper from time-traveling agent Groob, who helped her and her friends defeat their evil headmistress in series opener Planet Terra: Crash Course (2017). Elara’s friends, Beezle, Sabik, and Knot, want her to forget what happened last school year and focus on her studies, but that’s not going to stop her from investigating the Watchman, a new councilman in the Seven Stars System who, impossibly, has another chrono-hopper. Slowly she comes to believe that everyone around her has been brainwashed—can she successfully pretend to be brainwashed too as she seeks to restore order? The plot’s pacing is unbalanced, with a slow, exposition-heavy first half and an action-heavy second half. Still, dark-skinned Elara and her extremely diverse friends—the student body is made up of a dizzying array of ETs—are appealing, as is Walker’s far-future, outer-space world. Zoo’s grayscale illustrations set up each chapter.

Fans of Book 1 will enjoy hopping around time and space with Elara and her friends again. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-515-15794-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph.

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WISHTREE

Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all.

Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar’s longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar’s family’s presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant story with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students.

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-04322-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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

TUCK EVERLASTING

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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