All that 11-year-old Meghann can think of is that her summer is ruined because her weird cousin William is coming for a visit. His allergies, his whining, his altogether obnoxious personality are not things that Meghann and her other cousin Marcie—Meghann has lots of cousins—want around all summer. But Meghann comes up with a business plan that will earn her and Marcie some money and at the same time keep William and his allergies away from them: Pet Pals, a pet-sitting service. Things go according to plan until one of their clients, Althea, the boa constrictor, gets lost. The two cousins have overcome their squeamishness enough to feed live crickets to black snakes, but there is no way they will pick up Althea and return her to her cage—if they can even find her. But Pet Pals is their responsibility, and if they don't soon feed Althea her live mouse, she could starve. They put up posters offering a reward to anyone who finds the snake, and William answers their ad. William gets them out of their predicament, Meghann's feelings towards him change dramatically, and he thinks of a way to make the rest of their summer perfect. Hermes (Nothing but Trouble, p. 226, etc.) doesn't surprise at all in this typical preteen series debut, but she doesn't disappoint, either. Light and fun. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-89652-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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The potential strength of this presentation would be as a read-aloud to grade-schoolers, who would, no doubt, enjoy the...


From the Sir Seth Thistlethwaite series , Vol. 2

Two imaginative 10-year-old boys embark on a disbelief-suspending adventure in this second of a series.

Sir Seth, Sir Ollie and Seth’s “steed,” Shasta (his dog in a realer world), discover Puddlewater Pond is draining down into a netherworld, the Queendom of Claire, populated by short Khaboumians, the evil ogre Ooz, his tree-eating dinosaur and some almost-flying umbies. These creatures are coming into conflict, creating confusion, consternation and complete chaos.  Most of the narrative consists of frequent alliteration, puns and embedded rhyming words that don’t scan into poetry. “Sir Ollie stuttered with surprise, his eyes the size of banana cream pies,” for example. A certain amount of this is amusing; after several pages, it simply becomes unbecomingly uneven, creating a nearly noxious narrative. Some of the concepts are strangely Seuss-like: The Umbies travel in pairs, under-umbies under over-umbies that use their apparently otherwise useless wings to provide shade for their under-umbies. Chuggamugga bugs, like mugs with legs, carry water for wayward desert wanderers. While the pace of the plot careens, its superficiality is strangely startling. Cartoonish black-and-white illustrations add an amusing aura to a plethora of pages.

The potential strength of this presentation would be as a read-aloud to grade-schoolers, who would, no doubt, enjoy the difficulties the adult reader would encounter, wading through all the wacky words. (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-926818-94-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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