A deeply satisfying and worthy continuation of a beloved story.

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OUT OF MY HEART

A tween with cerebral palsy expands her horizons when she attends her first summer camp.

Twelve-year-old Melody Brooks, from Draper’s bestselling award winner Out of My Mind (2010), returns. As the school year ends, her classmates are full of their plans for summer camp, and Melody wonders if there could be a camp that is accessible for her; she uses a wheelchair and an assistive communication device. After getting brochures from the library, Melody convinces her parents to overcome their concerns and enroll her in Camp Green Glades, a camp for kids with disabilities. Melody feels some nerves, but the staff are welcoming, and she bonds with Trinity, her Jamaican American camp counselor who has a leg brace, and meets the three other girls who will share her cabin. Over the course of the week, the campers go swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and zip lining as they make new friends and have new adventures. Melody also has her first crush on and dance with a boy. Melody’s character continues to be irresistible, and a strength of the novel is how completely readers experience the world through her eyes. The supporting characters, who have a variety of ethnic backgrounds and types of disabilities, add richness; Melody’s race is ambiguous. The book includes careful, detailed descriptions of physical logistics, but it’s Melody emotions, thoughts, and perspectives that propel the narrative.

A deeply satisfying and worthy continuation of a beloved story. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-216-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Next to the exhilarating renditions of Rosemary Sutcliff (The Wanderings of Odysseus, 1996) and Geraldine McCaughrean...

THE ODYSSEY

An anemic retelling of the epic is paired to crabbed, ugly illustrations.

Breaking for occasional glimpses back to Penelope’s plight in Ithaca, Cross relates Odysseus’ travels in a linear narrative that begins with his departure for Troy but skips quickly over the war’s events to get to the sack of the city of the Cicones and events following. Along with being careless about continuity (Odysseus’ men are “mad with thirst” on one page and a few pages later swilling wine that they had all the time, for instance), the reteller’s language is inconsistent in tone. It is sprinkled with the requisite Homeric references to the “wine-dark sea” and Dawn’s rosy fingers but also breaks occasionally into a modern-sounding idiom: “ ‘What’s going on?’ Athene said, looking around at the rowdy suitors.” Packer decorates nearly every spread with either lacy figures silhouetted in black or gold or coarsely brushed paintings depicting crouching, contorted humans, gods and monsters with, generally, chalky skin, snaggled teeth, beer bellies or other disfigurements. The overall effect is grim, mannered and remote.

Next to the exhilarating renditions of Rosemary Sutcliff (The Wanderings of Odysseus, 1996) and Geraldine McCaughrean (Odysseus, 2004), this version makes bland reading, and the contorted art is, at best a poor match. (afterword, maps) (Illustrated classic. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4791-9

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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