Next book


From the Sharks Incorporated series , Vol. 3

The wildlife and natural settings remain fresh; not so much the characters and plot.

Three young shark taggers run into dangers ranging from poachers to large reptiles while exploring Florida’s western coast.

Checking out the mazes of mangroves and old shell mounds around Sanibel Island for wild oranges resistant to the citrus greening disease that is threatening the state’s cultivated fruits quickly leads Cuban American tween sisters Maribel and Sabina and White Midwestern farm boy Luke into tense encounters with both a tremendous Florida saltwater crocodile tending her batch of hatchlings and a pair of drunken outsiders who turn out to be animal traffickers. Plainly not shy about recycling themes, plot elements, and character types from previous entries, the author also trots in another ghost, some more buried gold, and Capt. Pony, a cranky septuagenarian fishing guide who is accompanied for comic relief by an attack goose (named Carlos, after a former king of the area’s Indigenous Calusa people) to supply the young naturalists with snippets of local history. The splashy, suspenseful, and occasionally supernatural climax ends properly with the baddies in the hands of the law and large numbers of captive croc hatchlings and baby turtles rescued. Capt. Pony (whose father came from Cuba) and the girls are repeatedly described as speaking Spanish but the text contains little actual Spanish, and Sabina is described as having “weird, witchy powers” due to her contact with santeras in Cuba.

The wildlife and natural settings remain fresh; not so much the characters and plot. (Adventure. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81351-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Next book


Entrancing and uplifting.

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Next book


A pleasing premise for book lovers.

A fantasy-loving bookworm makes a wonderful, terrible bargain.

When sixth grader Poppy Woodlock’s historic preservationist parents move the family to the Oregon coast to work on the titular stately home, Poppy’s sure she’ll find magic. Indeed, the exiled water nymph in the manor’s ruined swimming pool grants a wish, but: “Magic isn’t free. It cosssts.” The price? Poppy’s favorite book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In return she receives Sampson, a winged lion cub who is everything Poppy could have hoped for. But she soon learns that the nymph didn’t take just her own physical book—she erased Narnia from Poppy’s world. And it’s just the first loss: Soon, Poppy’s grandmother’s journal’s gone, then The Odyssey, and more. The loss is heartbreaking, but Sampson’s a wonderful companion, particularly as Poppy’s finding middle school a tough adjustment. Hartman’s premise is beguiling—plenty of readers will identify with Poppy, both as a fellow bibliophile and as a kid struggling to adapt. Poppy’s repeatedly expressed faith that unveiling Sampson will bring some sort of vindication wears thin, but that does not detract from the central drama. It’s a pity that the named real-world books Poppy reads are notably lacking in diversity; a story about the power of literature so limited in imagination lets both itself and readers down. Main characters are cued White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast. Chapters open with atmospheric spot art. (This review has been updated to reflect the final illustrations.)

A pleasing premise for book lovers. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780316448222

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

Close Quickview