Too bland and thin in both content and special effects to be particularly seaworthy.

READ REVIEW

THE ULTIMATE PIRATE HANDBOOK

Basic instructions for young landlubbers with a yen to go buccaneering.

The book opens with a spread of onboard jobs from captain to cabin boy (the carpenter, for instance, “can chop off a gangreney leg and carve you a wooden one!”). Following this, painted views of ships, typical gear, and scurvy knaves—all hung about with labels and a scanty assortment of flaps to lift—present overviews of pirate garb, cuisine, weaponry, legends, and even, beneath a display of treasure chests, types of historical loot from gold to sugar. References to work-related injuries and a double-page spread of assorted pirate weaponry are as explicit as the piratical violence gets, and such savvy advice as “If your hardtack is full or worms, try eating it in the dark” will be helpful on shore as well as at sea. But despite the presence of Ching Shih and some other women in the closing pop-up rogues’ gallery, plus a deft early reference to “able-bodied sailors” (instead of “seamen”), repeated references to “wenches” elsewhere send up a less inviting flag.

Too bland and thin in both content and special effects to be particularly seaworthy. (Informational pop-up book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7963-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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