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CLARICE THE BRAVE

A bit repetitious but a fine, unusual story altogether.

Mutiny on their shipboard home separates mouse siblings.

Clarice and Charles Sebastian—the runt of the litter—have lived all their lives on the Carlotta. But after their mother is washed overboard, Clarice knows it’s up to her to take care of Charles Sebastian, especially since her mother’s last words were that she believed in her. During a mutiny, Clarice’s crate is thrown aboard the launch along with the castoff human captain and crew, but Charles Sebastian is left aboard with the mutineers. Clarice is devastated to lose her brother and horrified to discover that Special Lady, the ship’s cat who ate her sister, is in the launch as well. Dire need forces the cat and mouse to collaborate, as the launch runs out of food and water and people start dying. All the while, Clarice worries that Charles Sebastian won’t survive by himself, and she vows to find him again. Adventures follow, the narration going back and forth between the siblings. The relationship between Clarice and Special Lady is very well drawn, as is Charles Sebastian’s unusual friendship aboard the Carlotta with Benjelloun, a 12-year-old girl chained in the brig by the mutineers. However, Clarice’s repetitious rumination on her worry for Charles Sebastian and her mother’s final words eventually become threadbare prompts, blunting the theme’s impact. Human characters read as White. Final illustrations not seen.

A bit repetitious but a fine, unusual story altogether. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-32337-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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THE ONE AND ONLY FAMILY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 4

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series.

Beloved gorilla Ivan becomes a father to rambunctious twins in this finale to a quartet that began with 2012’s Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan.

Life hasn’t always been easy for silverback gorilla Ivan, who’s spent most of his life being mistreated in captivity. Now he’s living in a wildlife sanctuary, but he still gets to see his two best friends. Young elephant Ruby lives in the grassy habitat next door, and former stray dog Bob has a home with one of the zookeepers. All three were rescued from the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan’s expanded world includes fellow gorilla Kinyani—the two are about to become parents, and Ivan is revisiting the traumas of his past in light of what he wants the twins to know. When the subject inevitably comes up, Applegate’s trust and respect for readers is evident. She doesn’t shy away from hard truths as Ivan wrestles with the fact that poachers killed his family. Readers will need the context provided by knowledge of the earlier books to feel the full emotional impact of this story. The rushed ending unfortunately falls flat, detracting from the central message that a complex life can still contain hope. Final art not seen.

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series. (gorilla games, glossary, author’s note) (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221123

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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