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CLARA POOLE AND THE LONG WAY ROUND

From the Clara Poole series , Vol. 1

An engrossing and inventive flight through the skies.

When her science experiment goes awry, Clara receives international attention—and an invitation to join a race that circles the globe.

After her mother’s death, 12-year-old Clara Poole tried to become the “safe version” of herself to please her cautious father. Then, while floating above the ground at the end-of-school-year fair in a plastic lawn chair lifted by hundreds of balloons, Clara has a thought: She could descend to earth—or she could go higher. Cutting her tether, Clara soars away over Michigan. When she lands, Clara is greeted by reporters, grounded by her father, and invited to join the World Organization of Balloon Aeronauts on their 100th air race. Consisting of 10 stages, including an endurance trial over the Sahara and a hunt for flags among the rocky cliffs of Mount Kailash in Tibet, the race is notoriously dangerous and completely thrilling. Partnered with a seasoned aeronaut and three monkey co-pilots, Clara learns the temperamental art of ballooning while navigating new friendships and scheming competitors. Invented elements, like the use of a flusterboard to travel between balloons, exist alongside references to genuine landmarks, creating a fantastical world that feels wholly possible. Most main characters, including Clara, are assumed White. Aeronaut teams represent their countries; Clara forms notable friendships with the Hoshis from Japan and the Jollys from India.

An engrossing and inventive flight through the skies. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781645951599

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pixel+Ink

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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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

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