DANIELA AND THE PIRATE GIRLS

From the Égalité series

A solid story with illustrations that don’t quite measure up.

Daniela, girl captain of a fearsome pirate ship, contends with a band of pirate girls whose reputation is outstripping hers.

Daniela’s ship, the Black Croc, receives word that some merfolk are trapped in a cave. They heroically travel and dive to free them…only to discover that the Fearless Piranhas beat them to it. Daniela sets out to find this all-girl band of pirates to see if they’re as great as the merfolk say they are. On their quest, they discover more people and animals who’ve been saved by the Fearless Piranhas—who have by now obtained the lost treasure for which the Black Croc had been searching. Their pursuit carries them into a storm, where they find the Fearless Piranhas’ ship has been overturned. Despite their differences, Daniela and her crew work with a whale to rescue their rivals. The two bands reconcile and go on to have amazing adventures together, including sharing the treasure. Pirate-loving children are bound to enjoy this fun story of jealousy and overcoming differences. The brightly colored illustrations are busy assemblages of goofy faces, with little space for the eye to rest on most spreads. The multiracial cast features a white Daniela and a black captain of the Piranhas, both with orange hair, though some of the depictions of black and Asian characters sway toward the stereotypical. The book is a Spanish import, and the Spanish-language original publishes simultaneously in the U.S.

A solid story with illustrations that don’t quite measure up. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-84-17673-27-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: NubeOcho

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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KNIGHT OWL

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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    Best Books Of 2022


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  • Caldecott Honor

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE!

From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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