Well-crafted, moving and gripping. (Adventure. 10-14)

READ REVIEW

ICE DOGS

In late winter in the Alaskan bush, a top junior dog sled racer loses her way in this thoroughly engaging and incredibly suspenseful survival story.

The day after 14-year-old Victoria Secord places sixth in a race that qualifies her for the coveted White Wolf Classic, she hooks up her dogs and sets off for what she thinks will be a four-hour run covering an estimated 35 miles. She’s heard that a local competitor “may be getting out of dogs” and is determined to have first pick of his champion leaders. But things get out of hand quickly. She finds and rescues an injured snowmobiler (Chris, a city boy her age) and in her haste to get him home, takes an unfamiliar trail as a blizzard builds; they’re forced to spend that night (and more) outside. Johnson (Dogsled Dreams, 2010), a former musher, clearly writes from a deep well of experience. She admirably depicts the emotional life of a self-reliant, introspective and angry young musher mourning the loss of her beloved father, a trapper and river guide, who died in an accident 14 months earlier. Worried about dehydration, hypothermia, and food for both dogs and themselves, Vicky draws on memories of experiences with her dad to guide them. Though Chris’ ignorance of outdoor life often endangers them, their burgeoning, bantering friendship adds depth even as the well-paced suspense builds.

Well-crafted, moving and gripping. (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-89926-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more