HAPPY NARWHALIDAYS

From the Narwhal and Jelly series , Vol. 5

The holidays have come for Narwhal and his friends.

In this fifth installment of the Narwhal and Jelly series, the eponymous pals are looking forward to cold waters, songs, and the arrival of the Merry Mermicorn, a “part mermaid and part unicorn and completely mer-aculous” being who “spreads sheer cheer and pure awesomeness wherever she goes!” Narwhal and Jelly exchange gifts and enjoy undersea snows, all the while dropping their trademark facts about ocean life (this time taking a slant toward all things chilly). This slim volume houses six different vignettes, among them “The Perfect Present,” in which Jelly agonizes over finding Narwhal the right gift, and “The Mean Green Jelly Bean,” a story the friends write and illustrate about an unappealing sentient jelly bean who is flavored like “pickle-scum snail-slime puree.” Clanton’s art is instantly recognizable, with its simply wrought characters and cool blue palette punctuated with splashes of contrasting color. Full of “sheer cheer” itself and with an emphasis on kindness and friendship, this volume doesn’t miss a beat alongside its predecessors. Although it’s never explicitly stated, most young readers will discern that Narwhal’s holiday is a thinly veiled riff on Christmas traditions, with its central visiting figure who’s akin to Santa, Narwhal’s peppermint-stick–striped horn, and carols like “Jingle Shells” and “We Fish You a Merry Mermicorn.”

A holiday treat for fans. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6251-5

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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