Beginning-to-be-eleven-year-old Portia and her little brother Foster are excited to be visiting their relatives in the countryside for the summer in Elizabeth Enright’s Gone-Away Lake. Besides seeing their favorite aunt and uncle, there is Katy the boxer dog who has just had a litter of puppies “with flat faces like pansies, and ears that felt like pieces of silk, and claws like the tips of knitting needles”—but best of all for Portia is having time to hang out with her cousin Julian, he of the hundred-thousand freckles. Closer than a friend and nicer than a brother is how she thinks of him. Julian is interesting and interested in everything that goes on around him.
“New folks coming!”
That’s the important news that the young rabbit, Little Georgie, has to share with all of his neighbors, from the stately deer to the excitable field mouse on Rabbit Hill. Will they be good providers or “slatternly” like the last batch? Most everyone hopes for a garden, but Phewie, the skunk, is hoping for some quality “garbidge.” All of the residents of Robert Lawson’s Rabbit Hill have an opinion and a hope about what will come.
So many things could go wrong if the new folks that come aren’t nice. There might be vicious dogs. They might bring traps. They might even cut down and plow up the thicket where the burrow lies. Mother Rabbit is beside herself with worry, but Little Georgie and the rest are mostly just excited.
Niblet & Ralph may look a lot alike, but they are very different. One likes to jam, while the other likes to eat.
Ralph is Gemma's cat, while Niblet is Dilla's cat. They live in the same building - actually, right across the hall from each other. While their owners are at school, they talk on the phone all day. Meow, meow, meow! When they run out of things to say, they share the sun - in their respective arm chairs, of course.
Byx does not want to be the last to live.
Byx is not a dog, she is a dairne - an endangered species that resembles dogs. The dairne walk upright, have opposable thumbs and marsupial pouches, and can glide from tree to tree. The dairne also have a unique gift - the ability to know when someone is lying.
How would you draw the warmth of the sun on your face? Would you draw the sun, high in the sky, lighting up your upturned face? Most people would. But not Niko. Niko isn’t interested in drawing the sun. He’s not trying to show a person. He wants to draw the warmth.
Metro City’s very own superhero Captain Amazing is getting too old for his job, so he’s going to need some backup. Sidekicks is the journey of some die-hard hero wannabes who wish to join the captain for one very simple reason: They are his pets, and he hasn’t been paying them any attention lately.
It seems like a good idea, and Roscoe the dog (hero name Metal Mutt) seems like a shoe-in. Who would be a better superhero sidekick than man’s best friend? Unfortunately, ever since an incident with Amazing’s last animal sidekick, he’s adopted a strict no-pet policy.
Sure, all of these guys bring something to the table. Roscoe is big and strong; Shifty the Chameleon has powers of camouflage. Manny the cat has actual experience in the field. But what can tiny hamster Fluffy possibly do? At least he has a teeny, tiny Captain America costume.