This kicks off a series, and readers will be glad to know that this piggie and pooch will pair up again.

READ REVIEW

HORACE & BUNWINKLE

Who’s stealing animals? The “pet-tectives” are on the case!

Horace Homer Higgins III is a most dignified Boston terrier, and he’s not happy that his human Eleanor is moving him from the city to the Homestead. It’s hard enough to keep her safe in town. Then she announces he’s about to get a new sister…and that sister turns out to be a pig! Bunwinkle was the runt of her litter, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in enthusiasm, and she loves living on the farm. All the animal characters are, well, characters: Smith and Jones are horse brothers who’ve seen it all; Smokey is a sardonically nasty stray cat; there’s also a bevy of excitable chicks, alpacas, goats, and troublesome ducks. On one of several trips to the vet (farms can be hazardous), Horace and Bunwinkle start to piece together a local mystery. Animals are disappearing. Is it the vets? Is it Smokey? Aliens? (That’s what Jones thinks.) The chase is on, but can they puzzle it out before one of them gets snatched? Gardner’s debut tale of mystery and (eventual) bucolic bliss brings to mind Joan Carris and Noah Z. Jones’ Bed & Biscuit series. Graduates of the Mercy Watson books will also feel right at home. Mottram’s occasional illustrations just add to the charm. Human characters are default White. (Final art not seen.)

This kicks off a series, and readers will be glad to know that this piggie and pooch will pair up again. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294654-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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