Exciting action sneakily infused with points about the relationship between reality and story, delivered by a narrator who...

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TOP-SECRET SMACKDOWN

From the Mac B., Kid Spy series , Vol. 3

Barnett recalls another exploit from his childhood days as a secret agent for the queen of England.

Shortly after failing to convince the despicable Craig, his mom’s boyfriend, that the wrestling at WrestleFest Live is (spoiler alert) faked, young Mac receives a call from the worried monarch. It seems that the Tower of London’s ravens are being stolen, and as everyone has heard the old prophecy that if the ravens ever go so will the country, there will be general pandemonium when the news gets out. “Who cares whether the prophecy is real,” the psychologically astute royal cogently remarks. “The prophecy is true.” Following a trail of convenient clues—and learning along the way (this is likewise true) that the queen legally owns every British mute swan, sturgeon, dolphin, and porpoise—Mac travels to Iceland and then the North Pole, catches up with the “KGB Man” who did the dastardly deed, and scotches a scheme to kick-start the prophecy with a public TV announcement. He accomplishes this by ripping off his shirt and wrestling the thief on camera…thus indelibly remaking a real news story into the fake sort. Lowery shovels in further goofy notes with three-color cartoon drawings of various animals and the white-default human cast on nearly every page.

Exciting action sneakily infused with points about the relationship between reality and story, delivered by a narrator who can claim with literal truth that he saved the day “on porpoise.” (Spy thriller. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-14371-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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