Still, fine fare for readers who prefer their nautical comedy broad and don’t mind a few typos along the way.

READ REVIEW

PIRATE OF THE MIST

From the Captain Fox series , Vol. 1

Despite some extraneous special features and an English translation that is, at best, unvarnished this pirate yarn nonetheless scores points for sheer silly fun.

Rescued from a raft just before he’s eaten by sharks, city-bred Ricky Rat is inducted by Captain Fulgencio Libertador Fox into the hard-drinking, all-animal pirate crew of a ship called a “Chameleon Vessel” because it changes color (in the story at least, if not in the cartoon art) along with the sea. The pirates’ primary adventure is to fetch “bootlegger treasure” from the belly of a white whale. Along the way, they survive repeated ambushes by Admiral Sibilla Snake—a scaly vision clad in haute couture straight out of Vogue—and a layover to visit their hardnosed wives (“You have a female mouse in every port, and maybe even a duck and a hen! Eh?” screams one, clobbering her mate with a heavy cane). Along with two side games and two extra screens that allow users to create new episodes using their own voices and even photos, the 119-page main story features a lively, multi-voiced audio reading, many touch- or tilt-activated items and thumbnail chapter and page indexes. On every page, there is a self-record button along with a set of colored markers that have no evident purpose aside from creating random noises or scribbles.

Still, fine fare for readers who prefer their nautical comedy broad and don’t mind a few typos along the way. (iPad storybook app. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Giunti Editore

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action.

THE SILVER ARROW

The best birthday present is a magical train full of talking animals—and a new job.

On Kate’s 11th birthday, she’s surprised by the arrival of rich Uncle Herbert. Uncle Herbert bears a gift: a train. Not a toy train, a 102.36-ton steam engine, with cars that come later. When Kate and her brother, Tom, both white, play in the cab of the Silver Arrow, the train starts up, zooming to a platform packed with animals holding tickets. Thus begins Kate and Tom’s hard work: They learn to conduct the train and feed the fire box, instructed by the Silver Arrow, which speaks via printed paper tape. The Silver Arrow is a glorious playground: The library car is chockablock with books while the candy car is brimful of gobstoppers and gummy bears. But amid the excitement of whistle-blowing and train conducting, Kate and Tom learn quiet messages from their animal friends. Some species, like gray squirrels and starlings, are “invaders.” The too-thin polar bear’s train platform has melted, leaving it almost drowned. Their new calling is more than just feeding the coal box—they need to find a new balance in a damaged world. “Feeling guilty doesn’t help anything,” the mamba tells them. Humans have survived so effectively they’ve taken over the world; now, he says, “you just have to take care of it.” (Illustrations not seen.)

Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53953-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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