A timeless, timely, and poignant tale of derring-do.

It’s the summer of 1924 when Davy and Jo Michaud take off into a life that dreams—and nightmares—are made of.  

Newly orphaned and long impoverished, narrator Davy, 12, and Jo, 17, are uncertain about what lies ahead. Their fortunes take a turn for the fantastical, however, when their mother’s estranged cousin, hotshot aviatrix Ruthie Reynard, swoops in to take the siblings under her proverbial—and literal—wing. Thrills abound as the children find a new family amid the daredevils and stalwarts of Ruthie’s circus. But behind the ever present danger of stunting lies a far more sinister threat, one from which the siblings and those they love might not escape. Set in Maine against the backdrop of the revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the Northeast, this vivid picture of senseless violence will hit home for today’s readers. As invectives fuel anti-immigrant sentiment, Davy realizes that he and his sister, whose father was an immigrant from Quebec, are the “foreign invaders” the Klan hates. The circus plot thread, full of heart and warmth, clashes with these themes in a way that keeps readers firmly invested in the fates of tenderly crafted characters they will grow to love. The first-person narration reads somewhat awkwardly, though it’s befitting of a young not-quite-man still growing into himself and his place in the world. Characters default to White.

A timeless, timely, and poignant tale of derring-do. (information you may find interesting, photograph, additional reading) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-73629-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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