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A masterfully illustrated and true-to-character take on a classic.

Medieval literature’s Reynard, the roguish fox, makes a return to amuse young readers with his clever tricks in this fresh interpretation of a well-worn figure.

At the behest of the noble King Noble (a lion), all the animals gather at court to peacefully make their complaints and receive justice. One animal is absent: Reynard. Wolves and chickens alike lay their accusations against Reynard in his absence, and when summoned to the defense, he concocts new mischievous manipulations. Alternating between spreads of text that feature choice spot illustrations and lush, full-colored double-page spreads depicting Reynard’s crimes, the tales can be taken in bite-sized pieces but are ultimately woven into a satisfying overarching and cohesive book. Lauströer’s skill for visual storytelling shines through in masterful illustrations, which read as classical while remaining cleverly modern, with stroke economy in pen and gouache giving a sketchy—but not unfinished—feel. The illustrations match the pacing of the text, translated from Raecke’s German, which maintains a sense of the long history of Reynard’s escapades without seeming old-fashioned, so readers will enjoy a hint of the darkness found in old fairy tales in this character-driven fable. An afterword includes a history of the trickster fox in European literature, including the fascinating tidbit that the character’s name replaced the original French word for the animal. Endpapers feature charming studies of mice and birds, reinforcing the cleverly designed cover. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 100% of actual size.)

A masterfully illustrated and true-to-character take on a classic. (Picture book/folktales. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-66265-006-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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