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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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

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GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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