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Higgins Hole

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By: Kevin Boreen / Illustrated by: David Clark

"Jumping conch shells! Have I got a tale for you!"

So begins the account of the battle for Higgins Hole by its most noble historian and poet laureate, Petronius the seahorse. Tucked away from the powerful currents of the ocean, Higgins Hole is home to a peaceful community of quirky sea creatures—until a vicious pack of great white sharks, led by the ferocious Tacitus, invades. Lutus, the Hole’s sage lobster leader, and Apollo, the sea turtle diplomat, appeal to the Oceanic Council for help, while General Integritus, the courageous military commander, does his best to protect the Hole. Yet in the end, it will be up to the Hole’s inhabitants to rid their waters of the intruders, with the aid of the legendary Flying Dolphin Squadron and a helping hand from the mysterious depths of the abyss.

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Author & Illustrator Bios:

Kevin Boreen, author

Kevin Boreen is a first-time author who lives in Wilton, Connecticut. He began writing Higgins Hole during his daily commute to Manhattan.

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David Clark, illustrator

David Clark is the illustrator of more than fifteen books for children, including Higgins Hole by Kevin Boreen, What's for Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World by Katherine B. Hauth (a winner of the New Mexico Book Awards), and Pirate Bob by Kathryn Lasky. He is also the illustrator and co-creator of the syndicated comic strip Barney & Clyde. He lives in Luray, Virginia.

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Awards & Honors:

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Editorial Reviews:

Booklist Online

Higgins Hole is safe from a band of evil white sharks, thanks to the courage and swift action of all the sea creatures in the reef. The self-important seahorse, Petronius, recounts the tale in formal, lofty language punctuated by puns. He opens with a lengthy summary of the victory celebration before moving backward in time to the events leading up to it. The reef teems with colorful characters: Lutus the lobster leader, Miss Tootoo the tuna, Allus Neckus the sea snake, and the “Wide-Eyed Three” hammerhead sharks. The complex sentence structure and vocabulary make the book best suited as a read-aloud or for advanced readers: “Lutus offered what comfort he could, telling all that the oceanic legions were encamped at the shoals.” Pencil illustrations add drama and clarity, though readers may wish the pictures were more frequent and showed examples of the lesser-known sea life populating the story. Hand this to fans of Katherine and John Paterson’s The Flint Heart (2011) or Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll series. –Suzanne Harold

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

When a great white shark Tacitus, known as the "Scourge of the Sea", and his band of twenty attack the small reef community of Higgins Hole (near the Florida Keys), the reef's terrified inhabitants seek help. Wise lobster Lutus, the leader of Higgins Hole, travels with old sea turtle Apollo and seahorse (and narrator) Petronius to get permission from the Oceanic Council to call in the intrepid Flying Dolphin Squadron. While the fish of Higgins Hole await the dolphins, help comes from another suprising source as well, and with everyone's cooperation the great whites are defeated and Higgins Hole is saved. While epics about land animals abound, aquatic animal sagas (with nary a mermaid in sight) are few and far between, and the underwater setting and fishy characters make this a fresh and original take on a familiar plot. Although Boreen does sneak in some critical commentary on government and war here, he wisely keeps the overall tone fairly light, with humorous touches provided by the slightly vain voice of Petronius and by frequent (and often groan-inducing) puns ("Many were impressed with her fine, strong voice. Someone noted that she could really hold a tuna.") A quick pace that builds toward the final battle will keep kids flipping pages to the end, and Clark's bold pen and ink illustrations give added support as readers visualize the marine scenes. Hand this to kids who loved Finding Nemo way back in the primary grades; they'll get along swimmingly. JH

Library Media Connection

Higgin's Hole, a lovely underwater community, is usually the peaceful home to a variety of sea creatures. Petronius Seahorse tells us of a time when a gang of vicious Great White sharks threatened to wipe out the idyllic community. While some of the community hid out during the siege, there were heroes who, with the help of the Flying Dolphin Squadron, were a match for the Great Whites. The story is loaded with puns and plays on words, and humorous pen and ink illustrations keep the story flowing smoothly. The moral of this "fish tale" is that every member of the community can make a contribution, and that "brave soles will never flounder" when they unite for a single porpoise. –MaryAnn Karre, School Librarian, Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools, Binghamton, New York

School Library Journal

Petronius the seahorse is one of the Named fish and the historian/poet laureate of Higgins Hole, a peaceful community of sea creatures led by Lutus the lobster with the help of Apollo the sea turtle. When Tacitus, a great white shark, arrives with his dastardly crew, they threaten to eat every creature in the Hole and all of their visitors, too. Petronius's pals must find a way to get the Flying Dolphin Squadron (led by dashing Megamaximus Sharkbonker) and the Oceanic Council to help them out of their predicament. This is a quirky story full of pithy proverbs and silly puns. Kids will enjoy the action and the charming tale of courage and friendship that highlights the old adage: United we stand, divided we fall. Clark's occasional pen-and-ink illustrations highlight the action. –Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix Public Library, AZ


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ISBN: 978-1-57091-641-0

ISBN: 978-1-60734-528-2 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-076-8 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 8-11
Page count: 224
5 1/2 x 8 1/4

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