From the Survivor Diaries series

A strong addition to this new, emerging series.

Bickering companions Carter and Anna quickly find themselves lost in the Costa Rican rainforest during a birding trip, struggling to make it back to safety in this survival thriller for young readers.

Real-life survival expert Johnson brings her decades of experience in various extreme habitats to bear in this third volume of the Survivor Diaries. Eleven-year-old Carter serves as the whiz, with a deep Rolodex of information on the animal species of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and a keen sense of survival knowledge. Twelve-year-old Anna considers him a bit of a “nerd alert,” but readers learn that Carter’s commitment to preparedness is a means for him to contend with his anxiety, which has induced panic attacks in the past. Anna is the impulsive trailblazer with equal shares of bravery and naiveté, and she’s enamored with the myth of a monkey statue that imparts protective strength with a lick. Although the storyline is predictable, Johnson accents the tale with a surprising amount of depth as the two adolescents learn to find their strengths in each other. Descriptions of types of snakes, monkeys, birds, and insects give readers an informative understanding of what’s found in the Costa Rican jungle. Orban depicts Carter as black and Anna as white in her occasional black-and-white full-page illustrations.

A strong addition to this new, emerging series. (author’s note, survival tips, further information) (Adventure. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-97118-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018


A feel-good tale of a clever and determined stallion set against a well-developed landscape.

In mid-19th-century Nevada, a colt named Sky grows up to lead his band of wild horses.

Parry’s moving story follows the pattern of her recent animal tales, A Wolf Called Wander (2019) and A Whale of the Wild (2020), chronicling a wild animal’s life in the first person, imagining its point of view, and detailing and appreciating the natural world it inhabits. As Sky grows from wobbly newborn to leader of his family, he faces more than the usual challenges for colts who must fight their stallions or leave their herds when they are grown up. Fagan’s appealing black-and-white illustrations help readers envision this survival story. Sky’s adventures include forced service with the Pony Express; being befriended by an enslaved Paiute boy; escaping to find his now-captured band; and helping them escape the silver miners who’d destroyed their world. Animal lovers will applaud his ingenuity and stubbornness. Although Sky’s band has suffered serious injuries (his mother is blind), he and Storm, a mare who was his childhood companion, lead them toward safety in a new wilderness. The writer’s admiration for these wild horses and her concerns about human destruction of their environment come through even more clearly in a series of concluding expository essays discussing the wild horses, the Indigenous Americans, the natural history of the Great Basin, silver mining, and the Pony Express.

A feel-good tale of a clever and determined stallion set against a well-developed landscape. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2023

ISBN: 9780062995957

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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