From the Ethan Fairmont series , Vol. 2

An adventure filled with fun hijinks and personal growth.

A boy and his friends do their best to reconnect with an alien friend while avoiding alien enemies in this sequel to Nothing Interesting Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont (2022).

Ethan had a wild summer that included befriending an alien named Cheese, defeating evil alien hunters, and starting the Create Space, a science learning center in his hometown of Ferrous City. Now that sixth grade is about to start, he’s excited for his favorite subject, science, especially since he’ll be with good friends Juan Carlos and Kareem. But a new girl named Fatima Adebayo joins his class and threatens Ethan’s place as smartest in the class. She loves science and inventing, and even worse, she’s a member of his group project. Ethan wants to study the communication device Cheese left behind, but that would require letting Fatima know all about his extraterrestrial interactions. Ethan must decide whether bringing Fatima into their confidence would help or hurt things. With strange events taking place in Ferrous City, he’ll have to learn to trust Fatima in order to protect their hometown and Cheese. Brooks hits the ground running with the next installment of this series that centers Black and brown kids. Ethan is determined to be great, but he struggles to accept help, and this may be a harder challenge than defeating aliens. The issues converge smoothly, providing a solid backdrop to the humor.

An adventure filled with fun hijinks and personal growth. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9781454947103

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023


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


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

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