A clearly entertaining read-aloud or read-alone for dog lovers.

MCTAVISH GOES WILD

From the McTavish Stories series , Vol. 2

McTavish returns to save the Peachey family from themselves, living up to his description as a “rescue” dog.

In series opener Good Dog, McTavish (2018), the sandy-colored terrier brought a family back from the brink of disaster with sheer cleverness and good humor. In this second title, the role-reversal plot of the new dog training the family continues into summer vacation, as the Peacheys head to the Faraway Campsite. Ma Peachey is excited to head to the idyllic mountains, with flowering fields and a flowing river. But Pa Peachey sees ridiculous danger in the wilderness. Brother Ollie prefers a disco where he can meet girls. And Ava only wants to read German philosophers. Once again, young Betty, the most sensible of the bunch, is ignored by the complaining Peacheys, too selfish to notice the beauty around them. The grumpy family, depicted by Easton with dark hair, fair skin, and pointy noses, decides to pack up and return home—but where is McTavish? A game of hide-and-seek ensues, with the plucky pup staying just out of reach. McTavish is not leading them astray—he is providing them a perfect day experiencing the outdoors. This series has legs to stand on, with clean writing, grayscale illustrations that gently move the action forward, and lovable yet flawed characters needing redemption. Fans will be panting for more.

A clearly entertaining read-aloud or read-alone for dog lovers. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0331-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance.

MAYA AND THE BEAST

Brazilian surfer Gabeira offers a fictionalized version of her childhood with this story of an adventurous young girl who overcomes sexism and self-doubt to become a great athlete.

The inhabitants of the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal, are in awe of a massive wave known as the Beast. A young villager named Maya has asthma and brings medicine with her wherever she goes; though shy, Maya finds fulfillment when moving her body during dancing, gymnastics, and swimming. Having grown up hearing about the Beast, she goes to see it for herself and is in awe of the massive wave, though she also notices boys surfing on it. Maya decides to try surfing, which her father encourages. The boys at the beach tell her surfing is no sport for girls, and she nearly believes them until a voice in a seashell tells her not to give up. Both text and illustrations offer a stirring account of Maya’s journey to surfing mastery. The Beast begins as a spectacle from afar, filling the page with its sheer scope. Maya is often framed within or beneath its crest, including a wonderful scene of her would-be hecklers watching dumbfounded as she joyously surfs ahead of them. Maya and her family are brown-skinned; for the most part, other residents of Nazaré range in skin color from tan to brown. In an author’s note, Gabeira describes growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, in 2007, setting a Guinness record for the largest wave ever surfed at Praia de Norte in Nazaré. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6000-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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