Beware giant raccoon-eating sharks and enormous beavers! (Science fiction. 7-11)

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KEEP ON TRUCKIN'

From the Rocket and Groot series , Vol. 2

Escaping a planet-sized strip mall was a snap compared to surviving a planet full of computer-controlled vehicles running amok.

Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket Raccoon and Groot and their sidekick, superintelligent tape dispenser Veronica, are out of fuel and forced to land on planet Happyhappyfunfun—but cars and trucks of all kinds attack them every time they set down. Planetary president Dina the Wonder Lizard explains (from the cave where she’s hiding) that Big Mama, the safety computer that controls all the self-driving cars, is seriously buggy: its download of an update was crossed with every bad race car–driving action movie ever made. Dina enlists the help of Rocket and Groot to stop Big Mama, but the computer intends to see the streets run red with blood (and Groot’s sap). Can our intrepid heroes survive—and refuel? Following series opener Stranded on Planet Stripmall! (2016), Angleberger returns with another gonzo adventure full of mayhem and impossibly action-errific narrow escapes. The story is written in the form of Rocket’s captain’s log, with plenty of “I am Groot” interjections and snarky comments from Veronica (and a few denizens of the planet too), with each character’s voice presented in a different typeface and often color, and is liberally decorated with Angleberger’s scribbly cartoons. Readers too young for the PG-13 movies or the adult-oriented comics will enjoy this age-appropriate and entirely silly adventure.

Beware giant raccoon-eating sharks and enormous beavers! (Science fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-8141-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Marvel Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Thought-provoking and charming.

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THE WILD ROBOT

A sophisticated robot—with the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smell—is washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500.

When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environment—not easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz’s benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions—and readers—with hope.

Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38199-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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