Spy aficionados will find this purr-fect.


From the Agent 9 series , Vol. 1

An impulsive feline agent and her robot fish sidekick must save the world from a diabolical crab.

With an act-first, think-later attitude, tiger-striped cat Agent 9 is on probation with the Super Secret Spy Service after racking up millions of dollars in damage to property. After pleading her case to headquarters, she is granted one last chance to prove herself. She is accompanied by her trusty mechanical-fish companion, Fin, who, although it communicates only in beeps, acts as her voice of reason. When both Agent 9’s boss, O, and Fin are captured by the villainous King Crab, Agent 9 soon uncovers Crab’s true intentions: He means not only to infiltrate S4, but also to melt the ice caps, flood the entire globe (creating the titular “Flood-a-Geddon”), and build a worldwide water park. Agent 9 must stop him before it is too late, but can she temper her impulsive streak long enough to save the day? Burks’ delightful graphic romp features an animal cast of characters with familiar human traits; Agent 9’s go-go-go attitude should resonate in a world that rarely prizes slowing down. Full-color panels, amply punctuated with action words, of varying sizes fill the spreads, making for a fast-paced offering. With a blend of thrilling chase scenes and a generous helping of humor, this crowd pleaser should be catnip to fans of series like Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys.

Spy aficionados will find this purr-fect. (Graphic thriller. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20294-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A fun-if-flimsy vehicle for science lovers.


From the Kate the Chemist series

A fifth grade girl brings her love of chemistry to the school play.

Kate loves science so much she’s determined to breathe fire. Of course she knows that she needs adult supervision, and so, with her science teacher’s help, Kate demonstrates an experiment with cornstarch and a blowtorch that nearly sets her teacher’s cactus on fire. Consequences ensue. Can someone who loves science as much as Kate does find pleasure spending her fall break at drama camp? It turns out that even the school play—Dragons vs. Unicorns—needs a chemist, though, and Kate saves the day with glue and glitter. She’s sabotaged along the way, but everything is fine after Kate and her frenemy agree to communicate better (an underwhelming response to escalating bullying). Doodles decorate the pages; steps for the one experiment described that can be done at home—making glittery unicorn-horn glue—are included. The most exciting experiments depicted, though, include flames or liquid nitrogen and could only be done with the help of a friendly science teacher. Biberdorf teaches chemistry at the University of Texas and also performs science-education programs as “Kate the Chemist”; in addition to giving her protagonist her name and enthusiasm, she also seems represented in Kate-the-character’s love of the fictional YouTube personality “Dr. Caroline.” Kate and her nemesis are white; Kate’s best friends are black and South Asian.

A fun-if-flimsy vehicle for science lovers. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11655-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.


From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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