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THE MISFITS

A ROYAL CONUNDRUM

From the Misfits-Yee series , Vol. 1

A fantastical blend of quirky characters and goofy adventures.

Olive’s move to a new school leads to friends, adventures, and greater self-confidence in this series opener.

Invisible at school and forgotten by her distracted parents, 12-year-old Olive Cobin Zang is lonely and drifting. Her only source of solace is memories of her loving grandmother’s wise words. So, when Olive’s parents transfer her to the Reforming Arts School, a Bay Area boarding school located in a former prison, she is ambivalent but curious. The school’s unusual approach includes both individual and group placement auditions. These challenges reward often-overlooked skills that Olive and four other idiosyncratic new students turn out to embody: creativity, teamwork, and reasoning. The new pod of five coalesces, exuberant upon learning that they will “join an elite force of specially trained operatives” and become the youngest group ever to go undercover and bring fresh ideas to solving crime. The self-styled Misfits have finally found their calling, but will it last? A crisis is unfolding: The villainous Bling King could keep the school’s main benefactor from attending the annual fundraiser, threatening the school’s existence as well as the Misfits’ own ambitions and newfound feelings of sanctuary. The straightforward storyline has more telling than showing, making it accessible to younger and reluctant readers. Readers will delight in the cartoonlike worldbuilding, zany capers, and plentiful and expressive illustrations. Olive is Chinese American and white; there’s racial diversity among the remaining cast.

A fantastical blend of quirky characters and goofy adventures. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781984830296

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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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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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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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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