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A lively #ownvoices romp into the power of intention—and the hilarity of trial and error.

In this playful retelling of an Inuit origin story, a feisty elder creates two of the Arctic’s most celebrated animals.

Guk, an Inuit woman with graying braids and light brown skin, has the power to “breath[e] life into the world.” With imagination and exuberance, Guk creates the walrus and the caribou. Young readers may notice that Guk’s creations aren’t quite as they should be: The walrus sports “huge antlers” while the caribou’s snout contains fearsome tusks. Aside from their comical appearances (rendered whimsically in Cutler’s cartoony illustrations), the walrus’ and caribou’s mismatched features also wreak havoc on the human world. The walrus’ antlers accidentally “overturn the kayaks in the water”; meanwhile, “every time it saw a hunter, the caribou would charge him with its tusks.” Guk addresses these issues by gleefully swapping the appendages to better suit the animals. In a final act of reckoning, Guk punishes the caribou for its cantankerous attacks against the hunters, via a swift kick—thereby giving the caribou its distinctively flat forehead and skittishness of humans. Inuit author Harper’s high-spirited version of this Indigenous oral tale will make a delightful addition to both libraries and personal collections. Backmatter includes a short Inuktitut glossary with a link to more Inuktitut language resources.

A lively #ownvoices romp into the power of intention—and the hilarity of trial and error. (author’s introduction, glossary) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77227-256-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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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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