From the Wolfe and Lamb Mysteries series , Vol. 3

A fun, socially conscious mystery that continues to take the series in new directions.

A vacation turns into another mystery for young animal lovers–turned–amateur sleuths.

Having solved previous mysteries near her home in Dorset, England, 12-year-old Kat Wolfe is ready for a vacation across the pond. So is her overworked veterinarian mother. Together they are set to accompany Kat’s best friend, 13-year-old Harper Lamb, and her paleontologist father on a trip to New York’s Adirondack Mountains. When unexpected events, including a nor’easter, converge in this third stand-alone installment of the series, Kat and Harper find themselves parentless and snowed in for several days. At first the pair is intrigued by a recent news event—a botched heist of a diamond necklace—but when they learn that the key witness, Riley, is not only a girl Kat met at a rest stop en route to the Adirondacks, but also has disappeared in the area, Kat and Harper set out to find her. Once again, they combine savvy computer talent, keen observation, and cleverness with animals in a lighthearted adventure with just the right amount of danger. This time the girls must also test their survival skills amid a pack of huskies, assorted wild animals, and blizzard conditions. Most notably, their sleuthing spotlights biases around the types of individuals society often overlooks. Whiteness is the default; Harper’s late mother was Cuban.

A fun, socially conscious mystery that continues to take the series in new directions. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-30964-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020


Entrancing and uplifting.

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019


From the Teddies Saga series , Vol. 1

Reflective children will revel in this thought-provoking world.

The journey to find a child becomes an existential quest for an abandoned teddy bear.

Buddy is not just any stuffed bear, but a blue Furrington Teddy with a Real Silk Heart. So why did he wake up in a landfill with other Furringtons of varying hues? A more pressing matter, however, is escaping Trashland and its murderous gulls and bulldozers. Yearning to connect with a child and achieve a state of peaceful Forever Sleep, Buddy and his new friends of differing temperaments and gifts set out on a harrowing journey through the city to find children who will want them. As they encounter other Furringtons in disarray, this opener in The Teddies Saga series becomes a mystery about why these teddies are being harmed in the first place. While the visceral narrative follows the teddy troupe’s adventurous challenges and survival, its focus is on Buddy’s inner struggles as he ponders identity, leadership, and other existential dilemmas. Kraus doesn’t shy away from anger, fear, death, and other dark subjects; instead they become opportunities for growth in difficult environments. Cai’s intense, slightly nightmarish grayscale illustrations add immeasurably to the text. Reminiscent of Watership Down in theme and structure, the novel’s intermittent teddy creation stories also become parables of a moral code and extend the epic story arc. A cliffhanger ending sets the scene for the next installment.

Reflective children will revel in this thought-provoking world. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22440-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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