A good questing novel for readers seeking a simple, lighthearted adventure.

FART QUEST

From the Fart Quest series , Vol. 1

Three children set out on a quest to prove they can be heroes.

Bartok, a 12-year-old Black boy, was nicknamed Fart by the master he apprentices under after choosing Gas Attack as his first spell to learn. He wants to be an exalted mage instead of an average human. Fart and his group—Pan Silversnow, Moxie Battleborne, and their respective masters—are only three months into a yearlong journey. They must prove they can survive the wilderness of the Fourteen Realms while helping others and defeating evildoers in order to graduate from Krakentop Academy for Heroes. When the masters are obliterated before their very eyes, Moxie and Pan are ready to head back to the academy, but Fart insists that they should use the opportunity to demonstrate their bravery. After taking their masters’ belongings, the trio defeat a hobgoblin then set off in search of heroic escapades. Chaos ensues as the group comes up against giant bees, ogres, and other mythical creatures. Though the story is told from Fart’s perspective, Moxie and Pan are just as important as the three learn to work as a team and recognize each other’s strengths. The humorous writing, wacky names, lively, cartoonlike illustrations, and simple text will especially appeal to reluctant readers. Pan is an elf who is cued as Asian; Moxie is a dwarf who appears White.

A good questing novel for readers seeking a simple, lighthearted adventure. (map) (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20636-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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