A charming undersea tale stressing the importance of not being sel-fish.


From the Squidding Around series

A self-serving squid learns a lesson about friendship.

Set many leagues under the sea on a bright and cheery ocean bed, this series opener introduces Squizzard, a tomato-red squid with an outsize personality. His best friend is Toothy, a vegetarian great white shark who has legs and wears pants. They may be fish and cephalopod, but the routines of their friendship are familiar: They hunt for shells, build reef forts, and concoct elaborate games of pretend. However, a power imbalance is quickly evident as Squizzard casts himself in all the best roles, always leaving Toothy overshadowed. When Squizzard carelessly forgets his report and asks Toothy to cover for him in class, Toothy finally gets mad and declares their friendship over. With the help and gentle guidance of a kind seahorse, Squizzard decides to find the right path to win Toothy back. Readers will delight as Squizzard tries to change his egotistical ways; it is not a quick nor easy transition, and his silly missteps ring comically true. Author/illustrator Sherry brings an empathetic tale of self-examination and change to life with easy-to-read chapters and an eye-catching comics format, with colors by Dzioba. Sherry also skillfully weaves facts about ocean life into the narrative. Bubbly and undeniably cute, this is a must-read for fans of the Narwhal and Jelly series.

A charming undersea tale stressing the importance of not being sel-fish. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-63668-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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