A madcap, magical blend of fluff and other good stuff.

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PUGS OF THE FROZEN NORTH

From the Not-So-Impossible Tales series , Vol. 3

Two kids and their 66 pugs enter a magical dog-sled race.

The Cakes in Space (2015) team returns for a ridiculous winter adventure story. When the ocean freezes solid right underneath their boat—and also freezes the boat itself—the Lucky Star’s crew faces tough decisions. Shen’s left behind with their cargo of 66 pugs. He finds a nearby town and learns that the frozen ocean’s caused by True Winter, a once-in-a-lifetime event heralding a race to the top of the world—the winner gets a wish from the Snowfather. Shen and Sika hitch the pugs to her elderly’s grandfather’s sled—he nearly won last True Winter, and Sika’s wish is for him to become well and live long enough to race again. The wacky competitors include a villainous Brit who loves to cheat (with tricks like the classic misleading detour sign). The obstacles on the race range from yetis (who have a noodle bar, because “Yeti Spaghetti Bar sounded too obvious”) to a Kraken. (McIntyre’s doofy, bug-eyed pugs are never more hilarious than in the glorious two-page spread where they battle the sea monster.) As the Snowfather can’t save Sika’s grandfather, the story’s silliness seamlessly transitions to musings about the immortality of stories and an old man’s positive end-of-life portrayal.

A madcap, magical blend of fluff and other good stuff. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-38796-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

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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