An impressive tale carrying universal themes of grief, change, and letting go.

THE WISH AND THE PEACOCK

A young Idaho girl tries to save her family’s farm.

Since her father’s death, 12-year-old Paige has been taking on all the farm chores, determined to keep her father’s regular farming schedule. When her mother and grandfather bring in a real estate agent to try to sell the farm, Paige enlists her younger brother, Scotty, and some friends to try to sabotage the sale of the farm. Simultaneously, a wounded peacock shows up on the farm, which Paige and Scotty secretly nurse back to health. Heartfelt and funny, the story captures the lives of often underrepresented farming families, and though the trope of children scheming to save something beloved that’s in peril through hijinks and humor is familiar, it engages in a deeper discussion of the threat development poses to farmland. The story is set on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation in southeastern Idaho; Paige, who is white, is best friends with Kimana, a Shoshone-Bannock girl who’s also her robotics partner, and Mateo, who is Latinx and whose family owns the neighboring farm. All characters are fully realized, and the book offers authentic views of rural kids navigating long distances between friends’ houses on dirt bikes and to and from school via bus as well as some very visceral calf birthing. Swore, who lives on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, includes brief narratives from two Shoshone-Bannock friends in her author’s note; there is no mention of the catastrophic Dawes Act of 1887, which enabled non-Natives to buy property on tribal lands, however.

An impressive tale carrying universal themes of grief, change, and letting go. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62972-608-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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