A fun and fanciful exploration of life in the future.

READ REVIEW

LETTER TO PLUTO

From the Penpals on Pluto series , Vol. 1

A pair of grade school pen pals exchange a series of amusing letters between Earth and Pluto.

Jon lives in England. His very creative teacher has assigned her students pen pals, with all of the letters to be written on paper, a novel concept in the 24th century. Straxi, his pen pal, is a human girl who lives with her family on odoriferous Pluto. She describes to Jon how the president of the planet has decided to destroy all the very stinky vomblefruit trees in an effort to improve Pluto and boost tourism. Before that can happen, she sends Jon a vomblefruit that his mother attempts to keep alive in her greenhouse. It’s only after all the trees are dead that people on Pluto discover that they were critical to the ecosystem; everything else begins to falter, too, making the planet almost uninhabitable. After Jon sends back the seed from his vomblefruit to begin to restore the lost trees, Pluto is saved and the two children become celebrities. Presented in large “handwritten” text on faux lined paper and accompanied by numerous amusing, small illustrations the protagonists have drawn on their letters, this quick read is both highly imaginative and entertaining, with a useful embedded environmental message. Although character development is minimal, it’s the novel ideas and inventive presentation that shine. Humans depicted present white.

A fun and fanciful exploration of life in the future. (Science fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-470-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

DANGER! TIGER CROSSING

From the Fantastic Frame series , Vol. 1

Two kids get up close and personal with some great works of art in this first in a new series.

Tiger Brooks is used to his little sister’s fantastical stories. So when the top-hatted orange pig she describes turns out to be not only real, but a next-door neighbor, Tiger enlists the help of his kooky new friend, Luna, to investigate. It turns out the pig works for the reclusive painter Viola Dots. Years ago a magical picture frame swallowed up her only son, and she’s searched for him in artworks ever since. When Tiger’s tinkering starts the magic up again, he and Luna are sucked into a reproduction of Henri Rousseau’s Surprised! or Tiger in a Tropical Storm, hungry predator and all. After meeting and failing to rescue Viola’s son in this adventure, the series is set up for the intrepid pair to infiltrate other classic paintings in the future. Backmatter provides information on the real Rousseau and his life. Oliver keeps the plot itself snappy and peppy. While there are few surprises, there’s also an impressive lack of lag time. This is helped in no small part by Kallis’ art, which goes from pen-and-ink drawings to full-blown color images once the kids cross over into the painting. Tiger is a white boy, and Luna is a dark-haired Latina.

Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-448-48087-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more