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

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THE FALLEN STAR

From the Nocturnals series , Vol. 3

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 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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