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From the Bug Boys series , Vol. 3

A winsome fantasy bubbling with gentle whimsy.

Two beetle BFFs return for more adventures in nature.

In this third graphic installment, best beetle buds Rhino-B and Stag-B explore the wondrous world around them in nine bite-sized vignettes. In “Love Letter,” the duo finds an intriguing canister embedded amid tree roots and, inside, a richly imagined missive from its mysterious author, Scorpio. They realize that the letter may have never found its reader but in a poignant moment, relish the marvel of a fanciful daydream. In “The Cooking Competition,” the pair face off, each determined to win the Bug Village cooking contest. When their desire to win eclipses the meaning of the event, the bugs learn that collaboration can outweigh competition. “The Mountain Journey” takes readers along on an arduous hike with the beetles as an argument brews. Once the friends discuss their feelings, they can quietly contemplate and enjoy the natural beauty around them. Knetzger’s simply wrought tales use straightforward naming conventions (most of the insects are named for their species) alongside an uncomplicated full-color palette of muted, dreamy tones, emphasizing the evocative nature and thematic focus of each piece. These introspective tales (which can be read nonlinearly) are slowly and deliberately paced, not demanding that readers rush; those who appreciate more pensive, meditative tales will find much to savor here.

A winsome fantasy bubbling with gentle whimsy. (bonus comic, extra art, cover sketches) (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30952-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House Graphic

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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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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The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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