THE MOUNT RUSHMORE CALAMITY

FLAT STANLEY’S WORLDWIDE ADVENTURES, BOOK 1

Flat Stanley is back and better than ever. Pennypacker’s revival of this perennially popular character should engender great enthusiasm and may even create new fans for this old favorite. Broad humor, action-packed adventure and a tinge of sibling rivalry combine to create a brisk tale that will ably entertain young readers. A most felicitous use of language mimics (and oh-so-gently mocks) the ingenuous, gee-whiz tone of the original. The plot, naturally, is paper-thin but full of incidents that allow Stanley to use his unusual qualities to save the day. In this series starter, Stanley and his family visit Mount Rushmore, where he prevents a rockslide and rescues his brother and a new friend from a cave-in. His adventures continue in The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery (ISBN: 978-0-06-142993-4; paper 978-0-06-142992-7). The series focus on geography is an appealing nod to the oft-assigned school project that asks children to mail their own versions of Stanley to far-off friends. Although Pamintuan’s final illustrations were not seen, the sample sketches match the playful tone of the text. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-142991-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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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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PIRATE HANDBOOK

A bland introduction to the pirate life manages to suck all the fun out of the subject. Likely to please only overprotective parents, this field guide tucks such provisions as, “The crew is your family, and you must look after them and love them,” into the Pirate Oath. It also claims that pirates “only steal from people who’ve got more than they really need,” and insists that male and female pirates “respect each other equally.” Similarly, though the watercolor illustrations are replete with hooks, peglegs, eye patches and like standard gear, many of the pirates on display sport inoffensive personae like “The Smiley Pirate,” “The Hunky Pirate” and even a grandmotherly “Pirate Captain’s Mum.” The translator lets a lookout shout “Land Ahoy!”—which only children who have never read another pirate book will accept. Production standards are equally careless, as a word is misspelled in the Pirate Vocabulary list (the “Pirat” flag), and there’s a blank space on the treasure map where a coded message is supposed to be. Shelve in Davy Jones' locker. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-84-937814-8-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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