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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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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