An addition to a series that verges on the charming for readers who can ignore a bump or two along the way.


From the Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet series , Vol. 3

Hoo hoo who knows what to do when an owl needs some aid? Calling Callie Tate, stat!

October 1901 sees budding veterinarian/naturalist Calpurnia Tate and her grandfather floating in a leaky rowboat (christened the Beagle) down the San Marcos River. Along the way they run across a most unusual creature: a drowning owl. Baffled by the bird’s condition, they decide to keep it on hand until they can ascertain its problem. Skillful observations on Callie’s part help to determine the owl’s ailment (illness by way of a poisoned mouse) and lead to an effective cure. In this latest in an early chapter-book series (Counting Sheep, 2017, etc.) that continues the story begun in series for older readers (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, 2009, etc.), Callie is a welcome guide to not only animal facts and lore, but also the mores and restrictions of early-20th-century life for women. Callie’s description of “the bloodthirsty Comanche” who left arrowheads behind is tonally out of sync with her noting that they “had hunted here for centuries before being driven onto the reservation in the Oklahoma Territory”; that “bloodthirsty” feels unnecessary at best.

An addition to a series that verges on the charming for readers who can ignore a bump or two along the way. (Historical fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-873-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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


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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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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