A delightful story for independent readers and a fine read-aloud for younger children.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Endingen Mole

A fresh anthropomorphic kids’ chapter book by debut author Ferrett.

Endingen Mole is an orphan living a quiet existence, using checklists provided by Madame Victoria, the only other mole he knows. One fateful day, his cupboard falls down, revealing a map that triggers long-buried memories and compels him to re-evaluate his solitary routine. He creates an adventure checklist that includes a visit with Mr. and Mrs. A. and E. Molesworthy of Lengnau, described as an “interesting couple.” He packs his knapsack full of tasty treats and embarks, electing to walk aboveground rather than tunneling, as moles generally do. He soon learns the hazards of such travel when he’s wounded by a falling branch. However, he meets new animal friends who help him, and he soon reaches the Molesworthys, who turn out to be a delightful older couple named Albert and Edwina. They’re thrilled to see Endingen, and they not only feed him, but also teach him about his heritage. He learns his real name—Thomas Tobler—and the truth about what happened to his parents. Despite the Molesworthys’ warnings, he continues on to Hillfoot House to claim his birthright from the clutches of his evil uncle, Julius; as predicted, greater dangers exist there. Yet another children’s tale featuring talking animals may seem like a trite idea. However, this book manages to be charming, as it immediately evokes both Winnie-the-Pooh and Beatrix Potter’s works. It features a few illustrations, mainly black-and-white drawings that add little to the text; however, its full-color map is sure to excite children’s imaginations. Also, the fact that Thomas/Endingen is an independent orphan seeking his own way will appeal to young readers. Although it’s clearly derivative of classics of children’s literature, it proves precisely why their tropes are perennial favorites.

A delightful story for independent readers and a fine read-aloud for younger children.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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