HORTON HALFPOTT

OR, THE FIENDISH MYSTERY OF SMUGWICK MANOR; OR, THE LOOSENING OF M'LADY LUGGERTUCK'S CORSET

A positively gleeful historical mystery farce. Trouble really begins around Smugwick Manor, ancestral home of the Luggertucks and current resting place of the Luggertuck Lump (world's largest and ugliest diamond), when M'Lady Luggertuck instructs her lady's maid, Crotty, to loosen her corset a bit. What follows is a general loosening all around. Usually this wouldn't affect Horton Halfpott, lowliest of kitchenboys, since he doesn't like breaking rules (a good thing, since the business end of Miss Neversly's cooking spoon is known to impart lethal corrections, and he meets it often enough even when he doesn't break rules). When the newly loosened M'Lady plans a costume ball to make a match for her snooze-inducing nephew Montgomery to the comely and amazingly well-off Celia Sylvan-Smythe, events are set in motion that involve a missing Lump, Shipless Pirates, M'Lady's evil weasel of a son, Luther, and, of course, our hero Horton. Is he up for some derring-do? Angleberger's second (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, 2010) is a satirical homage to Dickens by way of Pratchett and Snicket. Short chapters, a fast pace and plenty of linguistic and slapstistic humor will have young readers hoping that a sequel is planned. The scribbly pen-and-ink chapter-heading cartoon illustrations are just icing on the cake—or pickle éclair. A romp from start to finish. (Humor. 8-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9715-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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