A breezy mixture of low humor and high (if brief) suspense.


From the Wilf the Mighty Worrier series , Vol. 1

The arrival next door of a villain bent on destroying the world adds further worries to a neurotic lad’s already long list.

Wilf is initially inclined to discount new neighbor Alan’s self-identification as “an evil lunatic.” He is forced to change his mind after rescuing little sister Dot from being loaded into a bazooka, getting a gander at Alan’s high-tech underground lair, and hearing him trumpet a scheme to blast the world with a Powerful All-Nuclear Terror System (“Just wait till I unleash the true horror of my PANTS!”). Thumb firmly on the laffs button, Pritchett, a TV comedy writer, pitches her “staggerblasted” young worrier into one “kerfuffle” after another. The feckless but monomaniacal malefactor repeatedly tries to unleash widespread destruction—only to be foiled by either a slacker minion or, twice, something sticky shoved down the barrel of his Big Gun Thingy. Along with typographical high jinks, the tale features both plenty of comically melodramatic cartoon illustrations and silly drawings that Wilf makes to defuse his many anxieties. By the end, said hang-ups have lost much of their old force. Alan may be fitted with a wife and other appurtenances of adulthood, but he’s really a tantrum-prone 2-year-old, and readers will easily see through the disguise.

A breezy mixture of low humor and high (if brief) suspense. (Farce. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62365-822-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Mobius

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...


At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

Did you like this book?

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff


From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet