A compromise tale any kid assigned a group project should understand.

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NIXIE MAKES WAVES

From the Mermaids to the Rescue series , Vol. 1

In the same world as the Enchanted Pony Academy series, royal merchildren partner with magical seaponies in the elite Royal Mermaid Rescue Crew.

Princess Nixie’s excited for Selection Day, when she and her fellow Rescue Crew School classmates choose a partner from the Enchanted Seapony Academy. Nixie’s long awaited the day she’ll be a full member of the Rescue Crew, and though she doesn’t know which seapony’s the best match for her, she knows who isn’t: Rip, top of the seapony class but disliked for his rigid adherence to rules and preference for work over fun. When the ceremony comes, though, Nixie draws to pick last, leaving her with…Rip. Seeing his distress and confusion at his last-place selection, Nixie does her best to be positive about their partnership. She seeks common ground through shared adventure, but he’d rather study their rule book. Nixie’s nearly ready to refuse the match when she hears a distress call from her two best friends—stranded where they shouldn’t be—and so she rushes to rescue them. Luckily for her, Rip follows and the two work together—combining her flexible thinking-on-her-feet with the valuable information from his scholarship—gaining understanding and becoming a true team. This intelligent treatment of the emotional dynamic helps to mitigate the tendentiously sparkly worldbuilding and thin characterizations. Nixie appears with lavender hair and light skin on the cover; publishing simultaneously are three other titles in the series, each fronted by a different member of the diverse Royal Mermaid Rescue Crew: Cali Plays Fair, Cascadia Saves the Day, and Lana Swims North.

A compromise tale any kid assigned a group project should understand. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-26697-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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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Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them.

THE MADRE DE AGUAS OF CUBA

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 5

The Unicorn Rescue Society investigates the disappearance of a Cuban sea serpent.

In the fifth series installment, returning protagonists Uchenna and Elliot are in school, learning about water, when Professor Fauna calls them away. As the kids board the professor’s rickety single-propeller plane, they learn where exactly they are heading: Cuba. The island is in the middle of a massive drought, and Professor Fauna has reason to believe that the Madres de aguas (the Mother of Waters) has gone missing. It’s up to the society to find the sea serpent before any more damage is done to the people and wildlife of Cuba. As they set out on their mission of derring-do, they realize that once again they are up against their nemeses, the Schmoke Brothers. Via Yoenis, their Cuban American society liaison, Uchenna, Elliot, and readers learn about the political and economic hardships experienced by the people of Cuba, the island’s lack of basic goods and necessities, and Cuba’s need for real democracy (although the current role of the military is elided). This is conveyed within a quick, fast-paced read that’s ideal for kids who want a straightforward magical adventure. Uchenna is Nigerian, Elliot is white and Jewish, and Professor Fauna is Peruvian.

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3142-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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