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THE SECRET DESTINY OF PIXIE PIPER

Middle-grade readers will enjoy this book with its hints of magic, well-limned characters, and that totally appealing...

The oddball star of this engaging fantasy slowly comes to believe her unusual character and strange powers come from her distant relationship to Mother Goose.

Pixie Piper knows that the other girls have multiple friends where she has only one friend, and that pal is a boy, Gray. The redheaded white girl is an avid reader and writer of poetry, yet another oddity in her town. After Pixie’s mother reveals that they are both descendants of Mother Goose (which explains her incredible facility at impromptu rhymed verse), events take off. Pixie and Gray find a large egg and incubate it to hatching. Pixie’s maternal love for the baby goose she names Destiny—a charismatic character in her own right—precipitates the arrival of Raveneece, a strange, scary female villain, into her life. Over the course of the story, Alexa and Lucy (of South African and Chinese descent, respectively, giving the story some racial diversity) become new friends and popular Sage, a sort of “frenemy.” Her small town, where everyone seems to know everyone else, is a comfortable setting. The Piper family lives in Acorn House, in a development that also houses a museum for historic toilets. Characters, even the secondary ones, are memorable and add much to the story. The climax will chill readers but satisfy them, and there is a strong hint that more books will follow—here’s hoping that’s soon.

Middle-grade readers will enjoy this book with its hints of magic, well-limned characters, and that totally appealing gosling. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239377-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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