ATTY AT LAW

A double-must-read for all animal lovers.

Being a voice for the voiceless in her small Alabama town has some consequences that Atty Peale had not foreseen.

While accompanying her stepmom on a freelance writing gig, 12-year-old Atticus Tutwiler Peale and her younger stepbrother, Martinez, fall in love with an injured dog named Easy at the local animal shelter. When a man claiming to be Easy’s owner arrives, accusing the dog of biting him and demanding the dog’s destruction, Atty intercedes, first with the woman who runs the shelter and then in court, using the legal smarts she’s gained from listening to her lawyer father to present an original brief on Easy’s behalf. Easy gets a stay, but Atty and Martinez have to work at the shelter all summer. The media attention the incident attracts from as far away as England earns Atty an anonymous cyberbully. Defending an alligator while simultaneously trying to (secretly) prove her father’s latest client innocent further complicates the start of middle school. In his debut novel, Lockette deftly juggles issues of race (Atty and her father are white; Atty’s stepmother and Martinez are black), parental loss, bullying, animal rights, and much more in this touching and at times laugh-out-loud tale of a lawyer-to-be. Atty’s voice is authentic, and her trials (both in court and in school) will resonate with readers.

A double-must-read for all animal lovers. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64421-012-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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

HOLES

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

Close Quickview