A frisky adventure not at all weighed down by the timely doses of local history folded in.

THE BIG MOVE

From the Commander in Cheese series , Vol. 1

An all-too-close encounter with the new president’s children and their “c-a-t” nearly spells disaster for two White House mice in this history-laced series opener.

Inauguration Day hoopla would seem to provide a perfect opportunity for furry sibs Ava and Dean Squeakerton to root through the newest first family’s unpacked moving boxes in hopes of adding a souvenir Lego to the hoard of presidential memorabilia gathered by the teeming Squeakerton clan over 60 (mouse) generations. But when their mom’s swearing-in doesn’t keep first kids Banks and Macey away long enough for Ava and Dean to make their escape—and worse, the presidential “c-a-t” (mice never say the fearful word) makes an appearance—the resultant scurry sets off a potentially deadly Code Brown. Perhaps noticing the clothes with which Ford dresses his mice in the frequent floor-level black-and-white scenes, Banks and Macey glibly deflect the Secret Service so that the mice can slip away with their lives and also with two prizes: a Lego, yes, but also a coin battery that has long been sought to power a minicamera once owned by Sasha Obama. Leavitt adds plenty of historical flavor with references to White House locations and past residents and closes with photos and more facts plus a presidential portrait gallery. Volume 2, Oval Office Escape, publishes simultaneously.

A frisky adventure not at all weighed down by the timely doses of local history folded in. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93112-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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