A masterfully illustrated and true-to-character take on a classic.

REYNARD THE FOX

TALES FROM THE LIFE OF REYNARD THE FOX

Medieval literature’s Reynard, the roguish fox, makes a return to amuse young readers with his clever tricks in this fresh interpretation of a well-worn figure.

At the behest of the noble King Noble (a lion), all the animals gather at court to peacefully make their complaints and receive justice. One animal is absent: Reynard. Wolves and chickens alike lay their accusations against Reynard in his absence, and when summoned to the defense, he concocts new mischievous manipulations. Alternating between spreads of text that feature choice spot illustrations and lush, full-colored double-page spreads depicting Reynard’s crimes, the tales can be taken in bite-sized pieces but are ultimately woven into a satisfying overarching and cohesive book. Lauströer’s skill for visual storytelling shines through in masterful illustrations, which read as classical while remaining cleverly modern, with stroke economy in pen and gouache giving a sketchy—but not unfinished—feel. The illustrations match the pacing of the text, translated from Raecke’s German, which maintains a sense of the long history of Reynard’s escapades without seeming old-fashioned, so readers will enjoy a hint of the darkness found in old fairy tales in this character-driven fable. An afterword includes a history of the trickster fox in European literature, including the fascinating tidbit that the character’s name replaced the original French word for the animal. Endpapers feature charming studies of mice and birds, reinforcing the cleverly designed cover. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 100% of actual size.)

A masterfully illustrated and true-to-character take on a classic. (Picture book/folktales. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-66265-006-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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