SPY CAT

As in a previous outing (The Stranger Next Door, 2001), “co-written” with this collaborator—her own pet—Kehret delivers an exciting, suspenseful thriller that satisfies on several levels, thanks in no small part to the inherent literary talent of said feline and the juicy role in which he cast himself in the drama. Pete’s not only a distinguished author, but as a key player he’s a spy of rare talent whose actions and “words” are rendered in italics throughout the narrative to distinguish his activities from those of his human coauthor and fictional foils. A rash of robberies has been perpetrated in a small town in which Pete the Character lives with his family. Benjie Kendrill, younger brother of Pete’s owner, Alex, imagines himself a master spy and sets out to hunt down clues to the crimes. Exciting events ensue, including the inevitable robbery of the Kendrills’ own home and the kidnapping of Benjie after he unwittingly gives himself and his store of knowledge away to the thieves. He’s one smart, brave, and resourceful kid, though; along the way he picks up enough clues to nail these burglars to the wall. Pete is the cat’s meow as he goes above and beyond to save Benjie and to lead the less-clever humans (who don’t understand his “English”) to the solution of the crimes and Benjie’s successful rescue. Readers will keep turning the pages, though Benjie’s harrowing experiences as a captive might frighten very sensitive youngsters. Kehret manages to include in her satisfying story humor, commentary about kindness to animals, and the importance of family and friends. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-525-47046-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.

A GIRL, A RACCOON, AND THE MIDNIGHT MOON

This is the way Pearl’s world ends: not with a bang but with a scream.

Pearl Moran was born in the Lancaster Avenue branch library and considers it more her home than the apartment she shares with her mother, the circulation librarian. When the head of the library’s beloved statue of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is found to be missing, Pearl’s scream brings the entire neighborhood running. Thus ensues an enchanting plunge into the underbelly of a failing library and a city brimful of secrets. With the help of friends old, uncertainly developing, and new, Pearl must spin story after compelling story in hopes of saving what she loves most. Indeed, that love—of libraries, of books, and most of all of stories—suffuses the entire narrative. Literary references are peppered throughout (clarified with somewhat superfluous footnotes) in addition to a variety of tangential sidebars (the identity of whose writer becomes delightfully clear later on). Pearl is an odd but genuine narrator, possessed of a complex and emotional inner voice warring with a stridently stubborn outer one. An array of endearing supporting characters, coupled with a plot both grounded in stressful reality and uplifted by urban fantasy, lend the story its charm. Both the neighborhood and the library staff are robustly diverse. Pearl herself is biracial; her “long-gone father” was black and her mother is white. Bagley’s spot illustrations both reinforce this and add gentle humor.

The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.   (reading list) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6952-1

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more