Obi the gerbil’s latest adventure is an uncomplicated, entertaining romp with a lesson about the trouble that follows when...

OBI: GERBIL ON A SCHOOL TRIP!

From the Obi series , Vol. 3

In this third volume to feature Obi, an endearingly flawed little gerbil who is always getting herself into trouble, the pampered pet accidentally hitches a ride to school.

Obi shares her owner Rachel’s love with two other pets, a golden retriever named Kenobi and another gerbil named Wan, but she is secure in the knowledge that she’s Rachel’s favorite. Or is she? When Rachel writes an essay about her favorite pet, the troublemaking mouse Mr. Durkins plants a seed of doubt in Obi’s mind, and she becomes obsessed with discovering the subject of Rachel’s essay. The determined gerbil winds up stranded in Rachel’s backpack, eventually ending up at school, where she is left overnight. After all the kids have gone, Obi engages in silly hijinks with an assortment of school pets who make her pass the I’m-Really-Not-the-Principal’s-Spy Test, but ultimately, she gets what she’s after—a good look at Rachel’s homework assignment—and learns her true place in the little girl’s heart. Short chapters, interspersed illustrations and the funny narrative voice make this series a good choice for readers just wandering into chapter-book territory.

Obi the gerbil’s latest adventure is an uncomplicated, entertaining romp with a lesson about the trouble that follows when we allow others to stir up doubt about our most cherished relationships. (Animal fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3854-6

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

TIGER BOY

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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