Adults and children will eagerly follow Serafina from the basement into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new...

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SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK

Serafina mostly enjoyed her life at the Biltmore Estate until the other children started disappearing at night.

Motherless Serafina has grown up isolated and in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore Estate. It is close to the machines her father repairs and the rats she catches nightly. As the Chief Rat Catcher, Serafina has uncanny physical abilities that match her peculiar looks and allow her to hunt these sneaky vermin. She applies these talents to find out who or what is snatching children staying at Biltmore, a terrifying encounter with the cloaked child thief forcing her out of hiding to save the other children and herself. The Vanderbilts’ orphaned nephew, Braeden, proves to be a great ally, and they work together to stop the kidnapper before they become the next victims. Beatty spins an enchanting mystery through lonely Serafina's golden eyes. As she begins to defy her loving, protective father and involve herself in the estate’s doings, she comes ever closer to uncovering the villain and the secret behind her own origins. Each new clue adds another brush stroke to this keenly perceptive portrait of a young girl searching for answers about herself and the world around her. The book leaves readers satisfied with the plot but hungry for more about its unusual heroine.

Adults and children will eagerly follow Serafina from the basement into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new friendships. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0901-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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