ANCIENT, STRANGE, AND LOVELY

From the Dragon Chronicles series , Vol. 4

In a time not so far from now but within the universe of the Dragon Chronicles, 14-year-old Bryn misses her scientist mom, who has disappeared in Alaska. Her dad has gone searching for her, leaving Bryn with her aunt and her little sister. But an odd sound coming from boxes of her mother’s materials in the basement leads Bryn to a leathery egg—and the hatching of a small, hungry lizard. With wings. The story turns to Tal, who was Bryn’s mother’s research assistant, and to Josh, who makes a living finding fossils—and maybe other things. Pollution is endemic in this world, and swarms of animals and insects appear and vanish. Some teens use tattoos and skin grafts to mimic the appearance of the myriad cancer victims. Told in the first person by Bryn and in the third for Tal and Josh, the tale knits Internet searches, social networking, teenage friendships and ecosphere studies together with an utterly engaging baby dragon. Bryn’s family’s ties to winged creatures and their passion for scientific learning are delineated with swift precision and nuanced emotion. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2010

ISBN: 970-1-4169-5786-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more