An engaging mix of adventure, anguish, and renewed hope for animal lovers.

HURRICANE DOG

A TALE OF BETRAYAL, REDEMPTION AND CHANGE

A sweet pit bull mix recounts losing his home and family during a hurricane in this sequel.

From the moment he first rides home in the arms of his “boy” (named Gavin), the little brindle-patterned puppy learns to love and trust the humans in his life. But the canine signals early in the novel that heartbreak lies ahead. Describing Gavin’s touch, he says: “Over our years together, I trusted those hands. Even when I learned to hate the boy, I loved his hands.” It will take weeks for Gavin to select a name for his new best friend. Then, one summer day, while the boy dozes by a Louisiana fishing creek, an alligator creeps on shore and is about to attack. Gavin is awakened in the nick of time by his puppy’s fierce barking. He names the pooch Gator. Before their first year together is over, Gavin, his friend Jeremy, and Gator discover a filthy, illegal puppy mill in the woods. In one of the cages, Gator spots a small female canine who will win his lifetime love and devotion: “My eyes settled on one golden-red fur ball in an end cage nearest us.” In a hair-raising, action-packed scene, a man from the kennel discovers Gator and tries to kill him until the boys fight him off. Law enforcement agents raid the kennel, and the little dog who has lived her whole life in a cage is named Magnolia and joins Gator and his family. Life is good for several years until an unnamed hurricane hits and the levee breaks. When Gavin and his parents are finally rescued by boat, they are forced to leave Gator and Magnolia behind. This absorbing and moving canine tale should appeal to a middle-grade and YA audience. Cute black-and-white drawings by Lester introduce each chapter. Through Gator’s emotional voice, Weber deftly captures the deep trauma experienced by the many pets displaced by natural disasters in an era when people were not allowed to bring their furry companions into shelters with them. And the poignant lessons Gator learns during his painful journey deliver the narrative’s implicit, positive messages: forgive and keep an open mind about others.

An engaging mix of adventure, anguish, and renewed hope for animal lovers.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9966612-6-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Pups and Purrs Press

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2020

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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