From the Wanda Seasongood series , Vol. 2

A zany, over-the-top romp in the woods.

A misplaced sibling means more fantastical adventures for a girl just trying to do her best.

Newly 11-year-old Wanda is about to set off on another adventure into the Scary Wood, accompanied by her talking bluebird companion who fancies himself to be his namesake—Voltaire. Now that a spell has been lifted from her family, as recounted in Wanda Seasongood and the Mostly True Secret (2020), it’s revealed that she has an older sister named Wren, who’s being held captive by the evil witch Raymunda. Wanda was so small when Wren was taken that she doesn’t remember her, but that won’t stop Wanda from going to save her despite her parents’ blunt lack of faith in her capabilities. As before, “there’s no right or wrong way” in the Wood, since “they all lead to trouble.” Wanda and Voltaire face off against trolls, a giant, a banshee, fairies, a pooka, and the returning Royal Prince Frog, who pesters likely contenders for a kiss, all while avoiding Raymunda and her equally witchy sons. Structured much like Wanda’s first adventure, the episodic story features all the standard tropes of a fairy tale for modern sentimentalities. Lurie’s narrative is heavy-handed at times, emphasizing the ridiculousness of said tropes for comedic effect. Fairies and the witch family are multiracial while Wanda’s family presents white, with Wanda sporting bushy red hair, freckles, and brown glasses.

A zany, over-the-top romp in the woods. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04322-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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