A fast-paced, immersive exploration of urban wildlife from a satisfying animal point of view.


Aptly named coyote pup Trouble strays too far from home and ends up in the back of a truck headed for New York City.

Fortunately, he’s befriended—more or less—by a wily crow, Mischief, who provides help in key moments. A shy and anxious opossum, Rosebud, is drawn into their flight from Officer Vetch, a determined, not especially kind animal control officer who makes it his mission to find and round up the coyote. Mischief alternates between kindness, helping lead Rosebud and Trouble to the relative safety of Central Park, and good-natured malice, serving up a healthy supply of (somewhat) dirty tricks. After Trouble falls for a prissy but good-natured poodle, he starts to lose his wildness, growing less and less cautious of the perils of the city. When a little girl with good intentions but not much wisdom tries to feed Trouble, real danger emerges, leading to a suspenseful chase that will have readers cheering for the clever animals who team up to save their coyote friend. The animal protagonists emerge as believable if typecast characters: the owl is wise, the crow is clever, the swans are disdainful, Trouble is curious; but all of them are endearingly loyal. An interesting afterword provides additional animal information.

A fast-paced, immersive exploration of urban wildlife from a satisfying animal point of view. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268522-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Entrancing and uplifting.


A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A brisk launch well endowed with surprising exploits and ominous portents.


From the Once Upon Another Time series , Vol. 1

A young giant has identity issues—no surprise, being as she’s only 5 1/2 feet tall.

Disingenuously apologizing to young readers for trying so hard to make them cry (and promising more of the same in future episodes), Riley pits a short-but-mighty giant and an aggrieved preteen genie against an annoyingly clever king who has gone decisively to the dark side. Her fervent hopes of being accepted as a giant met with harsh rejection, Lena flees down from the clouds to seek comfort from the mysterious Last Knight and have her real nature revealed by a drink from ex-witch Mrs. Hubbard’s Cauldron of Truth. First, though, she runs into Jin, a thoroughly chapped genie banished into a ring until he demonstrates humility, who’s currently under the thumb (literally) of fiendish King Midas. Most of the action takes place around the Cursed City, a hidden settlement populated by well-known figures, from Pinocchio to Humpty Dumpty, that both Midas and the giants have sworn to destroy. After many setbacks and twisty takes on fairy-tale tropes, the end leaves most of the city intact; Jin and Lena, who are plainly made for each other (though neither is anywhere near admitting it yet), freer to act than they were; and larger scale villainy and betrayal afoot. The cast members, or those not made of wood or gingerbread anyway, present White.

A brisk launch well endowed with surprising exploits and ominous portents. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2587-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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