The “2” on the spine and the cliffhanger ending indicate more genetically modified fun to come—hurrah.

HAMSTERSAURUS REX VS. SQUIRREL KONG

From the Hamstersaurus Rex series , Vol. 2

When the blame for monstrous destruction lands on Hamstersaurus Rex, Sam must clear his tiny, half-dino buddy’s name.

Bully Kiefer “Beefer” Vanderkoff has been expelled from Horace Hotwater Middle School, and as Hamster Monitor, Sam gets to care for his class pet: a mutated, junk-food–obsessed hamster/dinosaur hybrid. All’s well…until the school is visited by rodential destruction on a mass scale and Hammie is the only possible culprit in everyone’s eyes. Everyone, that is, except Sam, who, while filming Chinchillazilla vs. MechaChinchillazilla (starring Hammie, of course), is attacked by a 12-foot-tall squirrel. Sam discovers that someone is controlling Squirrel Kong (his money’s on Beefer), and Sam has to prove it in order to save Hammie from being sent away to the Irma Bergstrom Memorial Home for Troubled Small Pets. When this seems impossible, Sam teams up with several former nemeses to expose the real culprit. Can he do it before a classmate tries to claim a $300 reward for information on Hammie’s whereabouts or before Squirrel Kong destroys the whole town? O’Donnell’s sequel to Hammie’s eponymous first outing (2016) is as goofball as the first. Dotted with Miller’s black-and-white cartoon illustrations—in which Sam is depicted as white, with classmates of various skin tones—it’s sure to please those who enjoyed Hammie and Sam’s first adventure.

The “2” on the spine and the cliffhanger ending indicate more genetically modified fun to come—hurrah. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-237756-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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