Fin-tastic fun.

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BAD MERMAIDS MAKE WAVES

From the Bad Mermaids series , Vol. 1

Oh cod! Someone has fishnapped the Mermaid Queen!

All young mermaids are required to spend a summer on land, with temporary legs and feet. Beattie, Mimi, and Zelda are three such mermaids, enjoying hot dogs by the sea, when crabmail arrives from the missing queen herself. The girls must end their summer early and arrive home by midnight—only they can stop the titular bad mermaids threatening the Hidden Lagoon in the queen’s absence. When the girls arrive, they find Periwinkle Palace deserted except for an army of piranhas and a new queen, a mysterious mermaid who calls herself The Swan and who is forcing all mermaids to make shell tops for some unknown reason. The trio steal a clamshell car and set out to find the real Mermaid Queen and stop The Swan from carrying out her nefarious plan to control all mermaids. Beattie, whom the black-and-white illustrations portray as dark-skinned, is the leader. Fraternal twins Zelda and Mimi are shown with pale skin. Each mermaid has unique traits that set her apart from the others, and each uses her personal strengths to solve the mystery and save the day. Creative metafictive elements and tongue-in-cheek jokes about mermaid myths such as perpetual hair combing round out the lightning-fast plot. A cliffhanger finale suggests a sequel.

Fin-tastic fun. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-792-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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