Not Jennings’ best, but worth it for cat fans.


Can’t a kitty catch a break for a nap? Not in the Fitz house.

Hissy is a simple cat. He wants his food, he wants clean water, and he wants some peace and quiet for a nap. Georgie, his 8-year-old human girl, is too loving; she often elicits a hiss for waking Hissy from his important naps. Her father is a carpenter, so he earns hisses for making too much noise. But the real problem is Zeb, Georgie’s untamed 3-year-old brother. Zeb is constantly noisy and constantly chasing Hissy. Zeb’s twin, Abe, is perfectly tamed and probably receives the fewest hisses. Sometimes Hissy can catch a quick snooze at his friend Igloo’s house, but only if the window or door is left open. Hissy concludes that wherever you find a human, you find noise. He escapes into the night for a nap, but cats are nocturnal, and he always has trouble sleeping at night. Igloo organizes a soccer match to tire him out; maybe if he snuggles with Georgie, Hissy will finally get some shut-eye…but it’s only a few hours until dawn….Jennings, author of the popular Guinea Dog series, tackles the feline mind with fair results. Narrator Hissy is a hard cat to like, and his annoyance with his humans can backfire. The soccer match in an otherwise realistic tale feels a bit out of place, but cat lovers will see their feline friends in Hissy (especially if those felines can be a bit hissy at times).

Not Jennings’ best, but worth it for cat fans. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60684-596-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.


It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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