LONG SPIKES

In early spring, yearling fawns Long Spikes and his sister lose their mother to coyotes, led by a wily female with a hooked fang. Making their way back to their birth thicket, the orphans find temporary safety. Time passes; a beaver entices a mate, and the thicket is flooded; a bobcat slinks by. Summer becomes fall, and the deer are joined by twin does. The does band; Long Spikes comes into rut and desperately follows them, mating with one of the twins. An older stag who easily dominated Long Spikes during mating season is killed by hunters. Long Spikes survives the hunting season and winter's snow and ice, but nearly falls prey to the coyote that killed his mother. The cycle begins again. Using a simple, descriptive style plus eight straightforward pencil drawings, Arnosky has tried to keep the narrative true to animal behavior and free of any human values, anthropomorphism, or cuteness; by and large, he succeeds admirably. Readers conditioned by the heavy hand of the media might ask, ``Is that all there is? Life and death, mating, survival, and contentment?'' Well, yes. Young readers who can perceive the drama in this simple story will be the wiser for it. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: March 23, 1992

ISBN: 0-395-58830-8

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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IQBAL

This profoundly moving story is all the more impressive because of its basis in fact. Although the story is fictionalized, its most harrowing aspects are true: “Today, more than two hundred million children between the ages of five and seventeen are ‘economically active’ in the world.” Iqbal Masih, a real boy, was murdered at age 13. His killers have never been found, but it’s believed that a cartel of ruthless people overseeing the carpet industry, the “Carpet Mafia,” killed him. The carpet business in Pakistan is the backdrop for the story of a young Pakistani girl in indentured servitude to a factory owner, who also “owned” the bonds of 14 children, indentured by their own families for sorely needed money. Fatima’s first-person narrative grips from the beginning and inspires with every increment of pride and resistance the defiant Iqbal instills in his fellow workers. Although he was murdered for his efforts, Iqbal’s life was not in vain; the accounts here of children who were liberated through his and activist adults’ efforts will move readers for years to come. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85445-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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