Those who have enjoyed Fenway’s necessarily narrow doggy point of view will no doubt savor another outing.



From the Fenway and Hattie series , Vol. 3

Fenway, Hattie’s exuberant Jack Russell terrier, is back for another (mis)adventure. This time the pup gets a bee sting on the paw.

Somewhat improbably, Fenway then is hauled to the veterinary clinic, where the vet, who reeks of cinnamon and animals’ fear, anesthetizes him. When Fenway awakens, he’s wearing the ever so annoying Cone of Doom, an oversized, rigid plastic collar that keeps him from licking his stung and very itchy paw. Meanwhile, Hattie is working hard on learning some magic tricks before her grandmother comes for a visit, a slight secondary storyline. After the two previous Fenway and Hattie tales, the trope is well-worn, if not a bit frayed. Fenway’s narrative point of view is very, very doggy, and that’s the running joke. In spite of veterinary attention, his paw becomes infected, and that necessitates yet another visit to the scary doctor and orders to “Soke-it,” which turns out to be almost worse than the dreaded bath, one of Fenway’s lurking background fears. Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that beloved Hattie (whom Fenway never describes) is the one who turns Fenway over to the vet and who keeps torturing him with paw soaks. Naturally, though, Fenway and Hattie sort things out and all ends well.

Those who have enjoyed Fenway’s necessarily narrow doggy point of view will no doubt savor another outing. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3783-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Readers will enjoy this sequel from a plot perspective and will learn how to play-act a trial, though they may not engage...


From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 2

This sequel to The Lemonade War (2007), picking up just a few days later, focuses on how the fourth graders take justice into their own hands after learning that the main suspect in the case of the missing lemonade-stand money now owns the latest in game-box technology.

Siblings Evan and Jessie (who skipped third grade because of her precocity) are sure Scott Spencer stole the $208 from Evan’s shorts and want revenge, especially as Scott’s new toy makes him the most popular kid in class, despite his personal shortcomings. Jessie’s solution is to orchestrate a full-blown trial by jury after school, while Evan prefers to challenge Scott in basketball. Neither channel proves satisfactory for the two protagonists (whose rational and emotional reactions are followed throughout the third-person narrative), though, ultimately, the matter is resolved. Set during the week of Yom Kippur, the story raises beginning questions of fairness, integrity, sin and atonement. Like John Grisham's Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer (2010), much of the book is taken up with introducing courtroom proceedings for a fourth-grade level of understanding. Chapter headings provide definitions  (“due diligence,” “circumstantial evidence,” etc.) and explanation cards/documents drawn by Jessie are interspersed.

Readers will enjoy this sequel from a plot perspective and will learn how to play-act a trial, though they may not engage with the characters enough to care about how the justice actually pans out. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-27967-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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