A double-must-read for all animal lovers.

ATTY AT LAW

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 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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WONDER

After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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