A fun and funny follow-up that celebrates the magic of family and community.

READ REVIEW

THE UNBELIEVABLE OLIVER AND THE SAWED-IN-HALF DADS

From the Unbelievable Oliver series , Vol. 2

Budding magician Oliver and his twin pals Teenie and Bea are back, three months after their inaugural adventures in The Unbelievable Oliver and the Four Jokers (2019).

Readers meet them at a cake testing. The twins’ dads, Yale Drama School graduate and writer Simon and photographer/florist Miguel, are getting married. In the age of out and married politicians running for the presidency, the nuptials are treated matter-of-factly as a milieu for this lighthearted sequel even as the news shocks Oliver because he assumed the dads were already hitched. The ever supportive dads, at their daughters’ insistence, ask Oliver both to be a ring bearer and to entertain the guests at the rehearsal brunch. Of course, Oliver, prodded by the girls and with the help of his talking bunny, Benny, and his cousin Spencer, must elevate his repertoire, so he decides on the titular illusion. The boy magician pulls off the sleight of hand, to his, the twins’, and the guests’ delight...until one of the dads goes missing. With tongue stuffed in his cheek, Bosch builds the silliness with total seriousness, and forces of nature Bea and Teenie make delightful foils for the earnest, slightly anxious Oliver. Pangburn’s cartoons help the text along, depicting all three kids with darker-than-white skin (Oliver is Jewish and the twins, Mexican American) and adding generous dollops of additional humor. Trick instructions are appended.

A fun and funny follow-up that celebrates the magic of family and community. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55235-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read.

ALI CROSS

The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.

Ali Cross, the son of Patterson’s most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is “starting to think the worst might have happened” to his mixed-race friend Gabriel “Gabe” Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn’t been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect’s father. Then someone robs the Crosses’ home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses’ Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe’s unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali’s stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali’s voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.

Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53041-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Native readers will see themselves as necessary heroes while readers of all walks will want to be their accomplices.

RACE TO THE SUN

A Diné teen teams up with her younger brother and her best friend to battle monsters threatening their world.

After seventh grader Nizhoni Begay senses a monster lurking in the stands during her basketball game, she tells her younger brother, Mac. When the monster kidnaps her father as part of a multilayered plot to lure her brother—the only one who knows her monster-spotting abilities—into servitude, kill her, and destroy the world, Nizhoni seeks help from her biracial best friend, Davery, whose mother is African American, his father, Diné. Aided by Mr. Yazzie, a stuffed horned-toad toy that can talk, and a cast of characters from Diné culture, the three kids embark on an adventurous trek to free Dad and stop the monsters. But even with powers inherited from monster-slaying ancestors, assistance from Holy People, and weapons fashioned from the Sun, Nizhoni will need to believe in herself while sacrificing what’s most important if she hopes to succeed. Fans of Hugo and Nebula winner Roanhorse (Ohkay Owingeh) will appreciate her fast-paced prose, page-turning chapter endings, and, most of all, strong female protagonist. By reimagining a traditional story in a contemporary context, populating it with faceted Native characters, and centering it on and around the Navajo Nation, Roanhorse shows that Native stories are active and alive.

Native readers will see themselves as necessary heroes while readers of all walks will want to be their accomplices. (glossary of Navajo terms, author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02466-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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