A dreamy, imaginative, and vibrant story full of heart and wordplay.

A story about the power of teamwork, dedication, and how dreams come to be.

Ten-year-old Luna Grande lives with her fathers, Dad and Papa, and Murph, the dog she adores. Each night she has vivid dreams that are brought to life by the Dreamatics, a theater troupe at the Lunarian Grand. There are incredible actors, the Unseen Playwright, the Forty Winks Orchestra, costume designer Tuck, and more—all working together to perform Luna’s dreams. They are a happy ensemble who delight in what they do and who love Luna and her family. But one day, when tragedy strikes in Luna’s waking world, her dreams are replaced by nightmares, and the Dreamatics are supplanted by Coco and the Bad Dreams. However, humble stagehand Dormir is determined to save the theater and give Luna her dreams back. This witty, magical, and touching tale will inspire giggles of delight, appreciation of the inner workings of a theater troupe, and wonder at the behind-the-scenes process of dream-making. At its core, this is a story of dedication, loyalty, love, and friendship that takes readers on a roller coaster of emotions and leaves them feeling warm and fuzzy: “Life is not a dress rehearsal….The curtains are up and you are on, so get out there and give it your best shot.” Papa is cued Latine; Dad and Luna are racially ambiguous.

A dreamy, imaginative, and vibrant story full of heart and wordplay. (cast list) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780593532225

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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