How to be a Human / Museum Kittens: The Treasure Map

Two recent fiction titles from Little Tiger – thanks to the publisher for sending them for review

How to be a Human
Karen McCombie

When their home town is hit by unprecedented wild weather storms causing schools to close it seems something is badly wrong. Little Ty thinks he’s seen aliens in the sky and much to sister Kiki’s horror has even appeared on the news saying the freak weather was caused by strange beings in their spaceships. How will she face the embarrassment of such nonsensical talk when Riverside Academy reopens? Especially the taunts of Lola and the Popular Crew of which she wants to be part.

Someone else not thrilled with the school reopening is previously homeschooled newbie Wes, also in Y7 and an outsider (though the bullies have their eyes on him).

Then there is Star Boy, presently marooned on Earth about which he’s been taught some things relating to its inhabitants, as well as having taught himself some of its languages.

Both finding every day painful, Kiki and Wes start spending time together and soon realise they have things in common: they’re really struggling to settle in to the new school, they both have parents who have separated and then comes music.

Having observed their behaviour together, Star Boy decides he can learn much about human behaviour by watching and filming the duo so that once he returns to his own planet, the Master will consider him a ‘scientific hero’.

Then Wes and Kiki discover Star Boy. They start to learn things about one another but also about themselves and who they are; they learn what being human really means, about the importance of trust and of friendship. They also discover that sometimes what you really want is right there before you and that it’s possible to heal sadness.
With terrific characters Karen McCombie infuses her insightful story with warmth and gentle humour. She really seems to stand behind the heads of eleven/twelve year olds and their salient concerns.

Thoroughly recommended for those around the age of Kiki and Wes in particular.

for younger readers is

Museum Kittens: The Treasure Map
Holly Webb, illustrated by Sarah Lodge

The fourth tale of the kittens that get playful once all the visitors have left the museum begins up on the roof when Tasha declares that the cloud she’s seen in the sky is a dragon. Boris then decides it’s actually a ship which puts him in adventurous mood as he leads his fellow kittens off to see an actual ship, The Silver Lion, a four-hundred-year-old galleon in dry dock at the back of the museum.

No sooner have they gone aboard than they hear rats voices singing about treasure and they appear to have a map.

When Boris informs them that The Silver Lion was a pirate ship that once belonged to a pirate queen, his excitement rubs off on the other kittens. Grandpa Ivan gives them his blessings to follow the rats; they have to get hold of that map one way or another. But those rats are pretty tricky creatures … and is there really a treasure map, let alone any treasure?

Those familiar with the kittens and their escapades, illustrated by Sarah Lodge, will eagerly grab this; other new solo readers could start here and then likely will want to read what went before.

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