Who doesn’t love smart, friendly birds on a secret mission?

HOMER ON THE CASE

Homer the homing pigeon and Lulu, an Amazon parrot, collaborate to defeat a wily, sewer-dwelling alligator with a taste for bling.

The engaging conceit is that Homer long ago taught himself to read. Channeling his favorite cartoon detective, Dick Tracy, he’s determined to discover why rats and cats are stealing valuables from people in the park. With the help of his wild pigeon friends, he observes that the shiny stash is being taken into the storm sewers. Since he’s a pigeon of some talent, he’s convinced he and Lulu can explore the tunnels, solve the mystery of where the stolen items are being taken, and safely get away. They discover a huge, bejeweled alligator being served by a cast of minions. But how to relate this remarkable story to Otto, Homer’s owner, and Charlotte, Lulu’s human friend? Homer uses his ability to read words and Lulu, her skill in speaking them to communicate the necessary information. Each chapter begins with a panel of attractive pencil illustrations that record the highlights to follow. In them, Otto presents White, and Charlotte has darker skin. The birds’ exploits are surprisingly believable and enjoyable to follow in Homer’s first-person narration. The humans are appropriately less developed. Why Snaps the alligator loves jewels and how the rats and cats came to serve her are barely explored, leaving this potential adversary rather flat.

Who doesn’t love smart, friendly birds on a secret mission? (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-254-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more