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A LITTLE BIT SUPER

WITH SMALL POWERS COME BIG PROBLEMS

An engaging and imaginative look at the powers of childhood.

A collection of 13 short stories by acclaimed authors for young people featuring kids who use real and imagined superpowers to positively affect their lives and those of others.

The kids in these entries are dealing with many common challenges: wanting to fit in, feeling shy, longing for real friendships, and developing courage. In Pablo Cartaya’s “2.4 Seconds to Sonder,” Maximiliano has become accustomed to fading into the background: His time-jumping abilities take him into the bodies of “random extras in history,” but he learns that “nobody’s life is random or pointless,” whether they’re noticed or not. In Nikki Grimes’ “Shift,” which is told in poetry form, Imara uses her shape-shifting abilities to try to blend in with the mean girls at her school, but this doesn’t make her happy. She learns an important lesson: “Who are they to say / I’m not perfect / exactly the way I am?” In Pam Muñoz Ryan’s “Matchmaker,” Sofia Delvechio uses mystical powers from her family’s matchmaking business to build a friendship network and help others. This collection of stories, which is divided into two sections—“The Power of Discovering Who We Are” and “The Power of Being Who We Are”—is broadly appealing; the diversity of characters, powers, and voices serves to highlight the protagonists’ inner lives and the importance that relationships play in helping them develop their senses of self. Final art not seen.

An engaging and imaginative look at the powers of childhood. (Anthology. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780358683421

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

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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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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