Other recent illustrated versions outsail this superficial recasting.

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MOBY DICK

From the 10-Minute Classics series

Shadowy pictures of larger-than-life figures cast atmospheric gloom over this summary version of the classic.

Edwards leaves out most of the gory whaling bits—as well as Ahab’s talismanic doubloon and so many other details that what’s left is more a precis of the main plot points. It’s speckled with vague allusions (“Despite ominous warnings, Queequeg and I stayed committed to the Pequod”) and capped with a one-line climax: “Claiming more than just the harpoon boats, Moby Dick dashed the Pequod and claimed all her crew. All except one….” In Horsepool’s stylized paintings, semiabstract views reveal icy seas in which looming clouds, icebergs, and the whale look much alike. These alternate with scenes of monumental but misshapen human figures (Queequeg and Ahab both sport tiny pointed heads atop humongous bodies) that are often seen from behind and generally in dim lighting. Ishmael appears only at the end, looking more like he’s standing in knee-deep water than clinging to the coffin. The cast’s diverse origins draw a narrative mention, but aside from Queequeg and one crew member in a group scene, everyone in the art appears to be white.

Other recent illustrated versions outsail this superficial recasting. (Picture book. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1200-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A sure draw for the Kung-Fu Panda crowd, high on body count but low on gory details, it doesn't take itself too seriously...

THE BATTLE OF RIPTIDE

From the Shark Wars series , Vol. 2

Toothy rivals introduced in the opener, Shark Wars (2011), unite in the sequel to battle an army of shark invaders from the far end of the Big Blue.

Having learned that he’s not fat (or “big-cartilaged,” as he prefers to put it) but a supersized prehistoric Megalodon, young Gray is propelled into playing a leading role in repelling a disciplined force of shark troops from Indi, led by King Finnivus, a spoiled and vicious brat with visions of world conquest. Fortunately, Gray is being tutored in martial “Shar-kata” by Takiza, an ancient and bad-tempered betta (Siamese fighting fish). He also finds common purpose with other “shivers” (the basic shark communal unit—though more open-minded shivers admit other species too) and discovers unexpected allies who arrive (thanks to Takiza’s ability to span entire oceans with magical speed) in the nick of time to turn the tide of the climactic battle. When Gray cries, or pants with exhaustion, the overall anthropomorphic conceit wears thin, but Altbacker expends some effort concocting his undersea setting and fills out the finny cast with familiar martial-arts–style character types.

A sure draw for the Kung-Fu Panda crowd, high on body count but low on gory details, it doesn't take itself too seriously and is fully sequel-enabled. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59514-377-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Bold deeds, betrayals, and buffoonery kick off this series with gusto.

THE WILD ONES

From the Wild Ones series , Vol. 1

Treacherous urban pets try to renege on an ancient deal with the wild residents of a city alleyway, and a young raccoon finds himself caught in the middle in this all-animal dramedy.

His parents done in by a pack of hired bloodhounds, Kit flees his beloved woodlands for squalid Ankle Snap Alley, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where he immediately falls afoul of a pair of raccoon hustlers and the feared Rabid Rascals gang. Worse yet, he is also targeted by miniature greyhound Titus, leader of the Flealess (or house pets), and vicious cat Sixclaw. They think he carries a possible clue to the whereabouts of the missing Bone of Contention that accords the alley’s formerly feral residents a right to settle there. Fortunately, Kit not only falls in with Eeni, a savvy rat who vows friendship “from howl to snap” (i.e., birth to, well…), but finds other allies too while proving himself no slouch when it comes to quick thinking and courage in the clutch. Despite metal traps springing and some spilled blood, the tale features but one onstage death; London further lightens the load with references to such appetizing alley cuisine as Daily Trash Casserole plus a diverse supporting cast highlighted by evangelical church mice and a retired fighting cock–turned-hairdresser.

Bold deeds, betrayals, and buffoonery kick off this series with gusto. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17099-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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