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A WOLF CALLED WANDER

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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THE MAGMA CUP

From the Sort of Super series , Vol. 2

Triumphs, mishaps, and revelations kick this adventure into high gear.

Two young superheroes start a search for their missing mom at a summer camp built next to a volcano. What could go wrong?

Enlisting their friends Beto Moreno and Nara Jenkins—respectively, an aspiring magician and a medal-winning wrestler—to help, fledgling secret super sibs Adeline and Wyatt Flynn enroll at Camp Igneous, conveniently situated at the base of the volcano where their mom might have disappeared four years before. Along with pursuing an investigation, though, the team faces serious competition vying for the titular cup in a series of mentally and physically demanding obstacle courses and other challenges, all while keeping their special powers hidden. The art’s bright colors, overlapping panels, and expressively posed cartoon figures ramp up the pacing and visual energy for a plot that features a series of suspenseful contests capped by encounters with “radioactive goop” and other surprises in the volcano’s crater and hints of a connection between the missing parent and a clandestine group of bad actors called the Quadrant. Stay tuned. Gapstur builds preteen banter, team building, frustrated romance, and even a nearly catastrophic eruption that tests the superkids’ abilities to the utmost into this lively sequel. Wyatt and Adeline are White; the supporting cast includes racial diversity.

Triumphs, mishaps, and revelations kick this adventure into high gear. (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 18, 2023

ISBN: 9781534480322

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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EVIL SPY SCHOOL THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

From the Spy School series , Vol. 3

Will satisfy fans but could be better.

Young CIA agent-in-training Benjamin Ripley switches sides—or is he just going undercover?—in this graphic version of the third Spy School caper.

Sticking to the plot of the 2015 original, this episode sees the talented math whiz recruited by nefarious organization SPYDER after being (unjustly, he fumes) kicked out of the CIA’s academy. While training in a hidden school for evildoers with other prospective villains, including Ashley Sparks, a gushy former competitive gymnast with a fondness for portmanteau words (sweet + awesome = swawesome), Ben gets wind of a dastardly scheme to make billions on government construction projects. Hot if inept pursuit by both rival espionage agencies takes Ben from a secret underground command center to the top of the Statue of Liberty. But while the action has a rapid flow in the art (Sarkar is good at portraying fights, high-speed chases, and explosions), several characters are drawn with generic features and such a limited range of expressions that even with help from the cast gallery, it’s hard to tell them apart easily. Still, along with coming through in the suspenseful climax—thanks to clever deductions and quick thinking—by the end, Ben has also achieved a long-sought breakthrough with Erica Hale (code name “Ice Queen”), a superbly omnicompetent schoolmate who has his heart as well as his back. The cast largely presents white.

Will satisfy fans but could be better. (Graphic thriller. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781665931946

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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