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THE FALLEN STAR

From the Nocturnals series , Vol. 3

Fresh and fun: the brigade delights as it explores another forest mystery

The Noctural Brigade returns in the third installment in the eponymous series.

Pangolin Tobin, sugar glider Bismark, and red fox Dawn are enjoying a meteor shower while sitting under Bismark’s pomelo tree when suddenly, a ball of blinding light drops from the sky into the forest. Shaken and bruised, the trio finds itself in an altered landscape. When the friends locate the meteor, a mysterious and strange-looking creature emerges from it. The aye-aye, whose name is Iris, warns them of invaders who come from this “star-stone.” Unsettled from their run-in with Iris, the Brigade runs across a group of animals who have been poisoned after eating some fallen pomelos. With time working against them, the Nocturnal Brigade must find a cure for their sick friends and avoid the clutches of the meteor invaders. Hecht serves up both a curious adventure and interesting zoological facts in this volume. Her descriptions of flora, fauna, and natural phenomena are vivid and immediate. The multilingual and loquacious Bismark fuels a few good laughs; Tobin balances his clumsiness with limitless kindness; and brave Dawn keeps the crew focused on their mission. Likewise, the villains of the story display great depth of character. They remind readers that many times bad deeds arise from pain and mistreatment in the past.

Fresh and fun: the brigade delights as it explores another forest mystery . (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944020-05-7

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Fabled Films

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

From the One and Only series , Vol. 1

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

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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. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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