AMELIA ERROWAY

CASTAWAY COMMANDER

A rambunctious young girl does exactly what you’d expect with her father’s airship.

Twelve-year-old Amelia Erroway is not allowed out of her room while her father’s ornithopter is in flight—but try telling her that. She might look the proper Victorian(ish) lady in her sashed dress, but she daringly climbs on the outside of the airship while it’s aloft. Wide views of the craft provide a treat for any steampunk enthusiast; while the Intrepyd Ray is not at all convincingly airworthy, it cuts an elegant, avian figure in the classical fantasy landscape. Of course Amelia rushes to take it off by herself the moment she gets a chance in a bid to prove to her father that she is too ready to become a commander like him. It’s no surprise that she crashes spectacularly, and in the Juniper, a dangerous rainforest, to boot. Luckily, she meets Rastor and Fynley, a pair of cute and equally rambunctious brothers with a kindly mom, who are only too happy to help her rebuild her ship and call her commander. With a science-minded trio to cheer for and several labeled diagrams to delight the meticulous, the story telegraphs its young nerds’ success, though Amelia’s final choice still comes as a surprise. The watercolor-style illustrations in intense jewel tones convey a sense of wonder. Amelia and her father are White; the brothers and their mom have brown skin and dark hair.

Adventures galore. (author's note) (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-18612-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

A WOLF CALLED WANDER

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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