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GRACIE

THE LIGHTHOUSE CAT

A raging storm is prelude to a miracle at sea. Battering rain, howling wind and the crash of waves add up to danger off the coast of the Farne Islands in England. Inside the lighthouse, Gracie the cat and her kitten are warm and snug in the parlor. The sound of running footsteps intrigues the kitten, who rushes to investigate. The front door is open—the lighthouse keeper and his daughter are braving the choppy waters in their rowboat to rescue passengers of a wrecked ship—and a gale-force wind lifts the kitten and deposits him in the sea. Gracie is distraught; as the rescued climb the stone steps to the lighthouse, she cries frantically. But it's hopeless...until she spots the kitten, soaking wet and terrified and clinging to the rocks. Gracie picks him up and whisks him to safety. This tale of feline excitement takes place with the true-life story of Grace Darling's famous 1838 rescue as its backdrop. Readers can see Grace and her father and the soggy ship's passengers they save from the battering seas, although the very simple text focuses only on Gracie and the kitten. (Brief notes on the endpapers fill in the history.) Brown's elegant pictures (no one does cats quite like her) suggest, in the best possible way, Classics Illustrated comics, and her story is similarly robust and interesting. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7454-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE!

From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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