More amiably subversive, anarchic fun.


When the Bold family (hyenas living incognito as London suburbanites) and friends head to the seaside on holiday, with Bobby disguised as family dog “Stinky,” nothing goes as planned.

The deceit begins when an encounter with a school bully leaves Bobby with a sprained leg. Certain that a doctor would see through his disguise, his parents follow ursine neighbor Mr. McNumpty’s suggestion and take Bobby to a veterinarian instead, overcoming Bobby’s reluctance by letting him choose his name. Still healing, Stinky remains in disguise on the Cornish coast. Meanwhile, the vacation must go on: A sand castle is built, then destroyed; Uncle Tony and Miranda the marmoset prove surprisingly adept at surfing (why is revealed later). Jealous of Bobby’s freedom to express his hyena nature, his twin, Betty, teases him, but when he disappears, she’s as worried as their parents. New friends Pamela, a short-winded puffin (she used to smoke), and dolphins Galileo and his chums don’t hide their animal natures; Bertha, owner of Tiddles Tea Shop, is a cougar. Disguised or not, each assists in the hunt for Bobby. The series’ best illustrations thus far take full advantage of the maritime setting and depict human characters as racially diverse. The genially intrusive narrator throws in a little suspense and points the occasional moral. The Bolds don’t just tolerate difference, they embrace it. Mr. Bold’s ubiquitous, cheerily horrible Christmas-cracker puns should amuse young riddle aficionados along with a few limericks (the sort found in your classier crackers).

More amiably subversive, anarchic fun. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-0044-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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