For budding race-car enthusiasts and readers who’ve ever felt they learn differently.

READ REVIEW

REVVER THE SPEEDWAY SQUIRREL

A squirrel car-racing fan becomes part of a pit crew.

Growing up in a tree overlooking a racetrack, a young squirrel has become fascinated with the speeding cars and the sound of their engines. Although aptly named Revver, he has trouble paying attention when his mother tries to convey the critical skills that he, his sister, and two brothers will need to know when they leave their nest. As he questions his talents within the traditional learning environment, his engineering and speed experiments in this opening section of the novel help keep the episodic chapters quick and lively. When the siblings scatter in different directions on their 50th day of life, Revver heads to the racetrack. After Bill, one of the crew mechanics, realizes that the observant squirrel in his garage can understand him, he teaches Revver different parts of the car and how they work in short passages with plenty of details. Finally the squirrel thrives, realizing his true gifts and even joining the pit crew, and he puts his skills to the test when his sister’s life and a race-day repair are on the line. Expressive illustrations, near disasters, and gags with Revver’s brother Farty (also aptly named) sustain the light adventure. While Revver’s mother and sister assume stereotypical gender roles, the pit crew includes multiple women mechanics. Humans seem to be default white.

For budding race-car enthusiasts and readers who’ve ever felt they learn differently. (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0361-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise.

BAD KITTY GOES ON VACATION

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series

A trip to the Love Love Angel Kitty World theme park (“The Most Super Incredibly Happy Place on Earth!”) turns out to be an exercise in lowered expectations…to say the least.

When Uncle Murray wins a pair of free passes it seems at first like a dream come true—at least for Kitty, whose collection of Love Love Kitty merch ranges from branded underwear to a pink chainsaw. But the whole trip turns into a series of crises beginning with the (as it turns out) insuperable challenge of getting a cat onto an airplane, followed by the twin discoveries that the hotel room doesn’t come with a litter box and that the park doesn’t allow cats. Even kindhearted Uncle Murray finds his patience, not to say sanity, tested by extreme sticker shock in the park’s gift shop and repeated exposures to Kitty World’s literally nauseating theme song (notation included). He is not happy. Fortunately, the whole cloying enterprise being a fiendish plot to make people so sick of cats that they’ll pick poultry as favorite pets instead, the revelation of Kitty’s feline identity puts the all-chicken staff to flight and leaves the financial coffers plucked. Uncle Murray’s White, dumpy, middle-aged figure is virtually the only human one among an otherwise all-animal cast in Bruel’s big, rapidly sequenced, and properly comical cartoon panels.

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise. (Graphic satire. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20808-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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