ZACK AND THE TURKEY ATTACK!

Charming and lighthearted.

Working on his grandparents’ farm every weekend is mostly fun for Zack.

But as soon as that old turkey Tailpipe spots Zack, the bird flies at him and pecks him without mercy. Zack tries all sorts of schemes and tricks to evade him, to no avail. Then he is inspired by the things he sees in grandfather’s machine shed and comes up with a genius idea. He will build a contraption, a “turkey-blaster trouble-shooter” that will scare that bird so he will stay away from Zack. Meanwhile, neighbor Josie informs him that things have been disappearing and she is convinced that a robber is on the prowl. Now Zack has two things to worry about. When his friend Matthew joins in with outrageous suggestions, hilarity ensues. The three white friends work together on the ever more elaborate machine, and their interpretations of the burglary clues become more complicated. The children meet the challenges with great ingenuity and good humor. Naylor keeps the tone light and the plot twists simple and believable. Readers will sympathize with Zack’s dilemma while laughing in sheer joy at the convoluted attempts at besting that turkey, and they will probably guess the thief’s identity, too. Several full-page, detailed, black-and-white illustrations highlight the quirky events and add to the fun.

Charming and lighthearted. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3779-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

TIGER BOY

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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A WHALE OF THE WILD

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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