Smooth writing, appealing pictures, and (mostly) mild action create a pleasant enough package, but it’s still likely to be a...

DIGBY O'DAY AND THE GREAT DIAMOND ROBBERY

From the Digby O'Day series

Following series opener Digby O’Day in the Fast Lane (2014), Hughes and Vulliamy’s canine duo are off on another adventure, this time featuring a classy seaside hotel, a secret passage, a singing starlet with a taste for shiny jewels, and a pair of (feline) cat burglars.  

As before, there’s an old-fashioned feel to both text and pictures. When Digby tells Percy about their upcoming trip, the smaller dog is troubled because the only dinner jacket he owns “belonged to my Uncle Gus [and it’s] moth-eaten and has a couple of gravy stains….” Soon enough they are on the road, and the plot rolls along briskly, if coincidentally, from a near miss with a large, dark car (license plate “Bad 2”) to their ignominious arrival at the hotel and serendipitous rescue of a fellow beach walker. Next come the glamorous entrance of Peaches Meow, a robbery at the hotel, and, finally, a visit to a local home that includes a trip down through a tunnel to a smugglers’ cave. Vignettes, single-, and double-page illustrations, created with pencil, ink, and digital collage, provide clues and amplify the mild humor. Emerging readers may nonetheless struggle with some of the sophisticated vocabulary and the unfamiliar setting.

Smooth writing, appealing pictures, and (mostly) mild action create a pleasant enough package, but it’s still likely to be a bit twee for some readers. (map, authors’ note, quiz, first chapter of Digby O’Day Up, Up, and Away) (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7445-8

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely

KONDO & KEZUMI VISIT GIANT ISLAND

From the Kondo & Kezumi series , Vol. 1

Two friends embark upon a high-seas adventure.

Kondo, a large lemon-colored creature with wide round eyes, spends his day on his island home with his best friend, tangerine-hued Kezumi. Together, they frolic on their idyllic isle picking berries (tall Kondo nabs the higher fruit while Kezumi helps to retrieve the lower) while surrounded by tiny “flitter-birds” and round “fluffle-bunnies.” One day, Kezumi finds a map in a bottle that declares “WE ARE NOT ALONE.” Inspired by visions of a larger world, Kondo and Kezumi fashion a boat from a bathtub and set sail. The pair visits fantastical islands—deliciously cheese-laden Dairy Isle, the fiery and fearsome Fireskull Island—until they eventually settle upon the titular Giant Island, where they meet Albert, a gigantic gray talking mountain who is—obviously—unable to leave. Enthralled by his new friends, Albert wants them to stay forever. After Albert makes a fraught decision, Kondo and Kezumi find themselves at a crossroads and must confront their new friend. Goodner and Tsurumi’s brightly illustrated chapter book should find favor with fans of Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s similarly designed Mercy Watson series. Short, wry, descriptive sentences make for an equally enjoyable experience whether read aloud or independently. Episodic chapters move the action along jauntily; the conclusion is somewhat abrupt, but it promises more exploration and adventures for the best friends. (This review was originally published in the June 1, 2019, issue. The book data has been updated to reflect changes in publisher and date of publication.)

A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02577-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch...

THERE WAS AN OLD MERMAID WHO SWALLOWED A SHARK!

Having eaten pretty much everything on land in 13 previous versions of the classic song, Colandro’s capaciously stomached oldster goes to sea.

Once again the original cumulative rhyme’s naturalistic aspects are dispensed with, so that not only doesn’t the old lady die, but neither do any of the creatures she consumes. Instead, the titular shark “left no mark,” a squid follows down the hatch to “float with the shark,” a fish to “dance with the squid,” an eel to “brighten the fish” (with “fluorescent light!” as a subsequent line explains), and so on—until at the end it’s revealed to be all pretending anyway on a visit to an aquarium. Likewise, though Lee outfits the bespectacled binge-eater with a finny tail and the requisite bra for most of the extended episode, she regains human feet and garb at the end. In the illustrations, the old lady and one of the two children who accompany her are pink-skinned; the other has frizzy hair and an amber complexion. A set of nature notes on the featured victims and a nautical seek-and-find that will send viewers back to the earlier pictures modestly enhance this latest iteration.

Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch bland. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-12993-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more