A sensitive, satisfying, and intriguing canine tale.

SECONDHAND DOGS

The arrival of a new dog threatens the stability, happiness, and safety of an established pack.

Gus, the first dog adopted by Miss Lottie, watches out for her growing pack of homeless canines: Tank, an aging bulldog; Roo, a nervous, hyperactive hunting dog; and Moon Pie, an engaging young pug. He appreciates Quinn, the neighbor boy who helps Miss Lottie care for her animals, and even gets along with Ghost, the elusive cat. When Miss Lottie introduces Decker, a confident, sleek, arrogant new dog, Gus knows it’s his job as pack leader to approve each new member, but he hesitates, as Decker unaccountably triggers negative feelings. With the other dogs waiting, Gus indecisively acquiesces, but his misgivings soon prove justified. A toxic bully, Decker rapidly undermines Gus, maligns Tank, intimidates Roo, and tricks Moon Pie into running away. Suddenly, Miss Lottie’s happy family shatters, and Gus knows he must rally everyone to search for missing Moon Pie before it’s too late. The story unfolds from the multiple, alternating perspectives of Gus, Tank, Roo, Moon Pie, Decker, Ghost, Miss Lottie, and Quinn as their personal backstories and motivations gradually emerge, adding depth and insight. Pervading themes of bullying, leadership, loyalty, and family—among humans and canines alike—raise important issues while the comic-style illustrations feature character cameos and highlight key scenes. Human characters default to White.

A sensitive, satisfying, and intriguing canine tale. (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-298918-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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