NIGHT OF THE LIVING GERBIL

After an overlong absence, the all-too-suggestible Bamford brothers (Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor, 1979; Dracula Is a Pain in the Neck, 1983) again let their imaginations get the better of them. In an effort to console his little brother Robert, grief-stricken after the death of his gerbil Exterminator, Sam secretly takes the corpse to Ben Winston, owner of a new bone and taxidermy shop, to be stuffed. What comes back is a little monster, rearing up on hind legs and baring shark-like teeth—and Winston’s odd, too, with dark circles under his eyes and a faint chemical odor. Could he be . . . a zombie? Sam and Robert are ready to believe. An elaborate memorial service for Extermie dissolves into pandemonium when the guest of honor is unveiled and Winston himself shows up—as the Bamford brothers’ divorced mother’s date! The deceased, with its extended front paws and evil glare, steals the show in the sketchy, comical scenes, but it all turns out to be a misunderstanding, resolved with a round of apologies and explanations. Young chapter-book readers may stay up late to finish this, but it won’t give them sleepless nights. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028588-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD!

McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS!

For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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