Evocative settings, ingenious plotting, sly humor, and shivery suspense render this sequel an unmitigated delight.

GARGANTIS

From the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series , Vol. 2

Legend says that St. Dismal rescued Eerie-on-Sea from Gargantis, a supernatural storm threatening to destroy the coastal village; centuries later, the storm is back.

Herbie Lemon, Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel, has a well-founded fear of the ocean. It’s tested when his imperious employer appoints him the one to decide who owns a fish-shaped glass bottle engraved with undecipherable Eerie Script. Professional beachcomber Mrs. Fossil found and claims it; Dr. Thalassi wants it for his museum; Eerie’s fisherfolk insist that because St. Dismal, Eerie’s first fisherman, invented the script, it’s theirs; young Blaze Westerley hopes it’s a clue to his uncle’s disappearance. When Violet Parma, whose curiosity invariably overrules Herbie’s caution, persuades him to open the bottle, what’s inside leads them to Gargantis. As stormquakes shatter the rock beneath Eerie, terrifying hotel guest Deep Hood, face and body concealed (except for a snaking tentacle), bribes the fisherfolk to destroy Gargantis using Herbie as bait. Smart, impulsive Vi (who’s biracial, with a black father) and thoughtful, steadfast Herbie (white, like most of the other characters) are well matched. The book-dispensing mermonkey and oracular cat from opening volume Malamander (2019) return in key roles. Underlying all the fun is a gentle, unforced message about life’s interdependence. Human, animal, and mechanical characters (especially the charming hermit crab) are a winning assortment: enchanting or horrifying, quirky or droll, invariably original. Enticing mysteries remain to be solved. (Most art was unavailable for review.)

Evocative settings, ingenious plotting, sly humor, and shivery suspense render this sequel an unmitigated delight. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0859-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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