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RULES OF SUMMER

Evocative, enthralling and with absolutely astounding artwork so good readers will wish that, like summer, it would last...

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One summer, two brothers live by mysteriously dire rules laid down by the older of the pair.

The little one lists what he learned: “Never leave a red sock on the clothesline”; “Never eat the last olive at a party”; “Never ruin a perfect plan”—and so on. What if you break a rule? You risk facing monstrous red rabbits, crow armies, teetering robots, lumbering metal dinosaurs, large lizards, overgrown fungus and more. You’ll miss a chance to ride on that whizzing red rocket, to catch a shooting star, to visit that glowing, golden kingdom inside the gate. Vivid acrylics and oil paints depict a pretend world so surreal, so specific (and sometimes so downright disturbing) readers will spend hours poring over its subtleties and subtexts. They’ll puzzle over the brother’s urgent directives too, which vacillate between painfully obscure injunctions and specific commandments quick as a thunderclap. The attachment and tensions between the boys stream clear throughout, however, with the younger racing to catch up and worrying over trespasses he never knew to avoid. Amid the murky peril and bizarre cast of reappearing characters, the brothers’ relationship and its powerful emotional undertow remains the centrifugal force, holding each image—and the entire book—together.

Evocative, enthralling and with absolutely astounding artwork so good readers will wish that, like summer, it would last forever. (Picture book. 4 & up)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-63912-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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WONDER

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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