A quirky, heartwarming story of family and friendship.

When a rogue NASA satellite threatens to crash back to Earth, 12-year-old Robyn decides it’s time to find her father before it’s too late.

An albino with pale white skin, pale curly hair, and pale eyes with poor vision, Robyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow has always looked “out of place.” Robyn knows nothing about her father except she resembles him, so maybe his recessive gene for albinism was “stronger” than her mom’s (who presents white). When she learns about a local family with albino kids, Robyn decides she’s related. Also totally convinced NASA’s XR-26 satellite will crash into her house with its infamous “magnet roof” (it seems to attract every falling object in Calliope), Robyn sets out to locate her father before it does, aided by her best friend, Nickel. Even though her mother operates a fairy-themed party venue, Robyn’s shocked when her English teacher assigns A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its famous fairy character named Robin Goodfellow. Why would her mother name her after this character? Why has her mother told her nothing about her father? Will she locate her father before the satellite hits? Robyn’s anxieties and determination resound through her humorous first-person narration. A cast of very zany local characters and a tension-filled plot driven by the approaching satellite enhance Robyn’s quest to uncover her real identity.

A quirky, heartwarming story of family and friendship. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6581-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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