Though there are a few treats to be found here, readers of prior editions will be sad to discover it’s not chock-full.

READ REVIEW

YOUNG EXPLORER'S ADVENTURE GUIDE

From the Young Explorer's Adventure Guides series , Vol. 5

In this fifth annual volume of the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, young people are spread throughout a futuristic universe filled with robots and piloting spaceships of their own.

The everyday childhood challenges that they face are nothing new, just tweaked to a distant future. In “The Ground Shifted,” by anne gibson, orphan Rosetta travels in a support hoverpod instead of a wheelchair, as she struggles with vertigo, while dismembered survivors of an asteroid crash in Sherry D. Ramsey’s “Machine Language” are left to colonize an unknown planet, their limbs replaced with multicolored prosthetics, painting a picture of a kind of transhuman existence. In “The Last Laugh,” William B. Wolfe offers a bit of humor with the speculative tale in which schoolkids challenge the Authorities in a world where jokes are illegal. Unlike last year’s Guide, this anthology’s stories feature mostly white-default characters. In stories where children of color are prominent, they are stereotyped, as in Holly Schofield’s “Woomie Saves the Day,” in which protagonist Kayla Ng’s mother advises her to “get zen” and Kayla’s skill with chopsticks is remarked on; Though Aubrey Campbell’s “The Last Flower on Earth” is an endearing story of a friendship between a lost Japanese girl, Misaki, and a lone robot, cultural details are largely limited to nomenclature (Shenyin Moon) and food (mochi).

Though there are a few treats to be found here, readers of prior editions will be sad to discover it’s not chock-full. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-940924-42-7

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Dreaming Robot

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Tales that “lay out your options for painful and interesting ways to die.” And to live.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK HEROES

In a similarly hefty companion to Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods (2014), the most voluble of Poseidon’s many sons dishes on a dozen more ancient relatives and fellow demigods.

Riordan averts his young yarn spinner’s eyes from the sex but not the stupidity, violence, malice, or bad choices that drive so many of the old tales. He leavens full, refreshingly tart accounts of the ups and downs of such higher-profile heroes as Theseus, Orpheus, Hercules, and Jason with the lesser-known but often equally awesome exploits of such butt-kicking ladies as Atalanta, Otrera (the first Amazon), and lion-wrestling Cyrene. In thought-provoking contrast, Psyche comes off as no less heroic, even though her story is less about general slaughter than the tough “Iron Housewives quests” Aphrodite forces her to undertake to rescue her beloved Eros. Furthermore, along with snarky chapter heads (“Phaethon Fails Driver’s Ed”), the contemporary labor includes references to Jay-Z, Apple Maps, god-to-god texting, and the like—not to mention the way the narrator makes fun of hard-to-pronounce names and points up such character flaws as ADHD (Theseus) and anger management issues (Hercules). The breezy treatment effectively blows off at least some of the dust obscuring the timeless themes in each hero’s career. In Rocco’s melodramatically murky illustrations, men and women alike display rippling thews and plenty of skin as they battle ravening monsters.

Tales that “lay out your options for painful and interesting ways to die.” And to live. (maps, index) (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8365-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

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