Between the moose dialect and the story’s twist, this may not be one of your grandmother’s tales, but even she won’t be able...


From the Maynard Moose series

Storytellers and Maynard Moose–lovers celebrate! There’s a wonderfully wacky new folksy tale for you.

Maynard (Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs, 2011, etc.) tells of Bully Goat Grim, a goat who is suffering from “Random Hostility Syndrome,” which causes him to lower his horns and head-butt cute, fluffy forest creatures. The kindly, though strange, troll family that lives under the bridge takes his challenge—“Beware, beware, the Bully Goat Grim! / Nobody better not mess with him!”—personally, but neither daddy troll nor mommy troll can decide on a way of dealing with the interloper. Luckily, baby troll knows her grammar and comes up with a clever plan that thwarts the goat’s meanness and uses his Random Hostility Syndrome as a source of entertainment. The moral? Learn your grammar and “demember— / nobody likes a dubnoxious beasty.” Claflin peppers his tale with such moose-isms as distremely and angrify, and his Northern Piney Woods amunals include busterflies. There is also some impressive vocabulary on display—trajectory, apogee, process, soporific, synergistic—and, of course, the whole concept of the double negative is at the heart of baby troll’s solution. Stimson’s illustrations are as droll as ever, his characters full of personality, and spreads that are packed with details will require repeat readings to uncover them all.  

Between the moose dialect and the story’s twist, this may not be one of your grandmother’s tales, but even she won’t be able to resist a few chuckles. Hysterical. (audio CD) (Fractured fairy tale. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-87483-952-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: August House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Heartening and hopeful, a love letter to black male youth grasping the desires within them, absorbing the worlds around...


Cooler-than-cool newcomer Styx Malone takes the more-sheltered brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene on a mischievous, path-altering, summer adventure of a lifetime as they embrace the extraordinary possibilities beyond the everyday in rural Indiana.

Readers may think an adventure such as they’ll find here wouldn’t be possible in the present day; this story takes place outside, where nature, know-how, creativity, and curiosity rule. Creeks, dirt roads, buried treasures, and more make up the landscape in Sutton, Indiana. Younger brother Caleb narrates, letting readers know from the outset that he’s tired of his dad’s racially tinged determination that they be safely ordinary: “I don’t want to be ordinary. I want to be…the other thing.” With Styx Malone around, Caleb and Bobby Gene will sure figure out what that “other thing” can become. The three black adolescents are enchanted with the miracle of the Great Escalator Trade, the mythic one-thing-leads-to-another bartering scheme that just might get them farther from Sutton than they’ve ever dreamed. As they get deeper and deeper into cahoots with Styx, they begin to notice that Styx harbors some secret ambitions of his own, further twisting this grand summer journey. “How do you move through the world knowing that you’re special, when no one else can see it?” begs the soul of this novel.

Heartening and hopeful, a love letter to black male youth grasping the desires within them, absorbing the worlds around them, striving to be more otherwise than ordinary. Please share. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1595-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A gritty story filled with hope and idealism.


A young boy is forced to leave the Chennai jail that is the only home he’s ever known.

When Kabir is deemed too old to stay and is sent out into the world all alone, separated from his wrongfully imprisoned mother, he decides to search for the family of the father he has never met to try to save his mother from her unjustly long sentence. Armed with faith, instinctive wits, and the ability to run fast, Kabir escapes danger and meets Rani, a teenage girl from the marginalized Kurava, or Roma, people who is traveling with her parrot. She teaches Kabir, who has a Hindu mother and a Muslim father, about caste dynamics and survival on the streets. She accompanies him to Bengaluru, where Kabir eventually meets his paternal grandparents. Along the way, their experiences reveal the invisibility of low-caste people in Indian society, tensions between neighboring states over water supplies, and the unexpected kindness of helpful strangers. Kabir’s longing for freedom and justice underscores bittersweet twists and turns that resolve in an upbeat conclusion, celebrating his namesake, a saint who sought to unify Muslims and Hindus. Kabir engages readers by voicing his thoughts, vulnerability, and optimism: While his early physical environment was confined within prison walls, his imagination was nourished by stories and songs. This compelling novel develops at a brisk pace, advanced by evocative details and short chapters full of action.

A gritty story filled with hope and idealism. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11247-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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