HANNE’S QUEST

Demonstrating that no, size doesn’t matter, Dunrea sends a small speckled hen on a heroic quest to save her farm with Dragon magic. As is his wont, Dunrea creates a sort of rustic, folkloric setting for this illustrated novelette. Learning that their beloved old keeper Mem Pockets is about to lose the farm for back taxes, the hens gather in their cozy “henwoodie” for a strategy session. When the eldest, Old Peggoty, recalls an ancient rhyme about gaining the ability to lay golden eggs by passing dangerous ritual tests—in a haunted barrow, by three eldritch standing stones and on the roaring shore of the “Great Green Sea,”—timorous Hanne, smallest of the flock, screws her courage to the sticking place and sets out. As it turns out, she gets some supernatural help and, though winning her way back to the farm turns out to be more hazardous than the outward journey, she returns in weary triumph to face a final, deadly challenge: laying those eggs. Presented as a tidy-looking quarto, with a vignette and a full-page, formal painted scene in dark, subtly modulated colors for each chapter, this will appeal to young readers who revel in magic tales, but aren’t quite ready for more voluminous fantasies. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24216-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2006

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE WRATH OF THE WICKED WEDGIE WOMAN

Trying to salvage failing grades, George and Harold use their handy 3-D Hypno Ring on termagant teacher Ms. Ribble—and succeed only in creating a supervillain with a medusa-like ’do and a yen to conquer the world with wedgie power. Using a pair of robot sidekicks and plenty of spray starch, she even overcomes Captain Underpants. Is it curtains (or rather, wedgies) for all of us? Can the redoubtable fourth graders rescue the Waistband Warrior (a.k.a. Principal Krupp) and find a way to save the day? Well, duh. Not, of course, without an epic battle waged in low-budget Flip-O-Rama, plus no fewer than three homemade comics, including an “Origin of Captain Underpants” in which we learn that his home planet of Underpantyworld was destroyed by the . . . wait for it . . . “Starch Ship Enterprize.” As in the previous four episodes, neither the pace nor the funky humor (“Diapers and toilets and poop . . . oh my!”) lets up for a moment. Pilkey is still having entirely too much fun with this popular series, which continues to careen along with nary a whiff of staleness. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-04999-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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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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