NICO BRAVO AND THE CELLAR DWELLERS

From the Nico Bravo series , Vol. 2

Living among gods and monsters, a young boy must save his friends and their magical island.

Jumping right in where Nico Bravo and the Hounds of Hades (2019) left off, young Nico Bravo, resident of the enchanted isle of Celestina and employee at Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop, is not looking forward to the annual visit of Sam, better known as Abonsam, the West African god of misfortune and pestilence—who, despite his bailiwick, comes across as a pretty likable character. When one of Sam’s monsters is released, however, all at the shop begin to turn to stone. As Nico’s friends are petrifying, Orcus, a shape-shifting monster henchman of Ahriman, god of evil, has broken into the shop to steal the last piece of Aether, the building block of all things. Nico embarks upon an epic quest to save his friends and their home—along the way encountering Atlantean flying saucers, unicorns stuck in a time loop, and steamroller scorpions—but not before he learns his own origin story. Cavallaro’s sophomore graphic novel is both fast-paced and engaging, filling its full-color panels with enough intrigue and explosions to keep pages flying. Fans of Rick Riordan’s works should feel at home here with its mix of multicultural religions. Ahriman comes from Zoroastrian tradition, Orcus is a Roman deity, and secondary character Eowulf derives from Nordic myth; figures from the Abrahamic faiths seem to be absent, however. Nico and most of the main human characters are white; only a few unnamed background humans show any different skin tones.

Smart, fast-paced fun. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22037-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart.

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE ZOMBIE PARADE

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 2

Thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan and his crew of monster-fighting besties are fresh off their victorious battle against the evil Blarg, but there’s no rest for the weary in the middle of a Monster Apocalypse.

First, Joe’s Pizza has become the local monster hangout. And second, the zombies seem to be disappearing. Thankfully, the white boy, his not-so-secret Latina love, June Del Toro, his African-American, science-nerd best friend, Quint, and pre-apocalypse bully–turned-ally Dirk, a large white boy who loves to garden, befriend a man-monster who might have the answers to everything. Equal parts humor, adventure, and warmth, the book offers fans of the series and new readers alike an entirely agreeable outing. Jack’s witty narration and Holgate’s pitch-perfect illustrations make for a terrific read that’s particularly well suited for middle-grade boys who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. There are plenty of foul-smelling, brain-sucking monsters and gizmos and gadgets to delight, but at its core, this is a story about friendship. Orphaned at birth and raised by a foster family he describes as jerks, Jack has always longed for a family of his own. Now that he has one, the only thing scarier than the monsters is the thought of losing them.

An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart. (Horror. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-01662-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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