With smart witticisms to launch each quick-paced chapter, Isaiah is truly a mouse that roars.

WORD OF MOUSE

Prolific Patterson and frequent collaborator Grabenstein offer this charming tale of Isaiah, a blue (yes—bright blue!) mouse, and his effort to break his family out of a very bad place.

Isaiah and his 96 siblings have been raised in a lab since birth, so they don’t really know what the outside world is like. Isaiah’s big brother Benji was the one to come up with a plan to break them all out…but only Isaiah is fortunate enough to make it to freedom. Alone in a huge and unfamiliar world filled with unexpected pleasures and dangers, Isaiah is lucky to find Mikayla, a beautiful but ordinary mouse with an extraordinary talent: she sings! Mikayla brings Isaiah back to her family (appropriately called a “mischief” in mouse vernacular), who formally adopts him. But Isaiah misses his original family, and with the help of his new relatives and a human friend or two, he mounts a daring rescue to save his siblings. Narrator Isaiah is a well-read mouse, and, without being pedantic about it, he shows off his vocabulary at every opportunity; his literacy comes in handy more than once, demonstrating its practicality as well. Sutphin provides black-and-white spot illustrations that recall the great mouse protagonists of the mid-20th century.

With smart witticisms to launch each quick-paced chapter, Isaiah is truly a mouse that roars. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-34956-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

  • National Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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