Fairy-tale fun with resonant depth makes for another solid outing.

RED

THE TRUE STORY OF RED RIDING HOOD

In another of her fairy-tale mashups, Shurtliff brings inventive new dimensions to Granny and Red, whom readers met in the companion book, Rump (2013).

Granny, a witch, is none other than Rose Red, whose sister, Snow White, married a bear-prince. Red has powers, too, but she’s been afraid to practice after a particularly disastrous spell almost killed Granny years ago. So when Granny becomes deathly ill, Red sets off to find the strongest magic: eternal life. Red’s narration is dry and sassy, her mishaps colorful, her quest eventful and populated with other denizens of fairy-tale land. Accompanied by new friends Goldie and Wolf, Red follows directions provided by a disgruntled dwarf: there are three ways to stop death. What he fails to reveal are the pitfalls, allowing Red to debate the advisability of immortality as she witnesses the effects of each method. The most grotesque is The Magic Hearts, offered by the Huntsman—the same who saved the other Snow White (the one with the dwarfs) from her jealous stepmother and was cursed as a result. The adventures are thrilling, even frightening, and, while good and bad magic abound, what is most heartening is how Red and Goldie grow and brave it all together, selflessly helping each other.

Fairy-tale fun with resonant depth makes for another solid outing. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-75583-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life.

ODDER

A Monterey Bay sea otter comes of age.

Odder’s mom told her to stay away from sharks, humans, and anything else she didn’t understand, but after saving her friend Kairi from a shark attack, she encounters all three. Injured herself during the rescue, Odder ends up recuperating at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or Highwater as the otters call it, where she once lived as a young orphaned pup. Last time, the humans helped her reintegrate into the wild, but because of her injuries this time the outcome might be different. Soon Kairi is there too, stricken with “the shaking sickness” and having lost her newborn pup. Now Kairi is fostering a new pup, and soon one is introduced to an initially reluctant Odder in hopes that she will help raise it so it can return to the wild. The free verse effortlessly weaves in scientific information, giving Odder a voice without overly anthropomorphizing any of the animals. The natural appeal of sea otters will draw readers in, but the book doesn’t shy away from real-world threats such as predators, disease, and pollution. Loosely based on the stories of real sea otters rehabilitated at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this novel will give readers lots to talk about, but uneven pacing and a rushed ending may leave some unsatisfied. Charming black-and-white spot art captures the world and life of the sea.

Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life. (glossary, author’s note, bibliography, resources) (Verse novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-14742-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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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...

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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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