Not quite funny, not quite exciting, not quite worth your time.

REVENGE OF ZOMBERT

From the ZomBert Chronicles series

Can Bert the cat and his human girl, Mellie, save their town (and maybe the world)?

Picking up right where the second volume left off, Bert, aka Y-91 (not a zombie but a victim of medical experiments who now has sort-of superpowers), has been captured by the Big Boss of YummCo. Mellie and her friends, free of the influence of mind-control drug Yummconium, are intent upon rescuing Bert and finding an antidote for the townspeople of Lambert. All the while, the Big Boss and her lab tech henchmen Greg and Kari are focused on getting control of the world population via Yummconium and mesmerism. Can Bert complete his mission of rescuing all the animals in the lab? Can Mellie rescue Bert and her mind-controlled family? Or will the Big Boss succeed in turning the world’s population into mindless consumers of everything YummCo? Even readers who have worked their way through the previous two (slim) volumes might be a bit lost at first, as there’s little attempt to catch readers up on the slightly silly plot. Alternating perspectives in the chapters can be a bit jarring. Weak character development and a predictable plot limit this one’s appeal to readers of the other volumes. Andrews’ cartoon black-and-white illustrations are the best feature. Images depict Mellie as dark-skinned. Final art not seen.

Not quite funny, not quite exciting, not quite worth your time. (Science fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0108-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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