Books by Deborah Noyes

Released: March 10, 2020

"An earnest but unfocused glimpse behind the curtain of Barnum's career. (author's note, image credits) (Historical fiction. 13-18)"
Noyes (Tooth and Claw, 2019, etc.) explores P.T. Barnum's career from the perspectives of his family members, performers, and acquaintances. Read full book review >
TOOTH & CLAW by Deborah Noyes
Released: April 30, 2019

"A fresh gander at the beginnings of dino-mania. (index, timeline, endnotes) (Nonfiction. 10-13)"
Colleagues become bitter rivals in this tale of scientific discovery set during paleontology's heady early days. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 22, 2017

"A compelling true story of magic, ghosts, science, friendship, deception, feuding, and sleuthing told with great flair. (photos, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
There was a time, not long ago, when many people believed that death was no barrier to staying connected with loved ones. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A lively biography that reflects the spirit of the intrepid reporter. (author's note, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 11-14)"
As the title implies, this biography focuses largely on reporter Nellie Bly's 10 grim days in a New York City insane asylum for women in 1887, which influenced public opinion and gained her instant celebrity. Read full book review >
Released: June 11, 2013

"An informative tale, but it lacks spark. (Ghost story. 14 & up)"
May's trip to Florence with family friends takes a frightening turn when she wakes in the middle of the night to find her ghostly twin standing at the foot of her bed. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2009

Noyes's latest anthology (Gothic!, 2007) showcases freaks, once a celebrated standard in traveling shows and theater. The included stories range from David Almond's view into a more innocent time, when the difference between a circus Swami and God was hard to distinguish and all magic was possible, to Margo Lanagan's outstanding tale of a lovelorn dwarf who is stronger than a seemingly normal visitor. Annette Curtis Klause has contributed a stand-alone sequel to her novel Freaks (2006), while Aimee Bender's bearded girl likes her beard. Three of the entries are by renowned graphic novelists. Matt Phelan's excellent "Jargo" draws the haunting and wistful story of a creature too strange even for a sideshow tent. Strangely, two stories have nothing to do with sideshows or circus freaks—Vivian Vande Velde's ghost story features a psychic, while Cecil Castellucci's weirdly wonderful "The Bread Starter" showcases just that—and many of the stories, while "odd and magical," are only tangentially sideshow-themed. From a thematic perspective the collection is a bit of a mess; from a writing perspective it's excellent. (introduction, contributor biographies) (Anthology. 13 & up)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2009

Acrostic poems inventively highlight the animals of Africa. While some of the acrostics simply spell the name of the animals, others expand the topic of the poem—the rhino's poem spells out "beauty in the beast," while the giraffe's declares them "cloud friends." Harley keeps things interesting by varying the seriousness of the poems and the rhythm and rhyme schemes. Backmatter includes more about acrostics as a poetic form and short paragraphs of information about each of the featured animals. Noyes's photographs perfectly encapsulate the poems, the two creating a harmonious whole that is more than the sum of its parts. The kudu, his poem asking how one greets this animal, is shown in close-up, his head tilted as if waiting for an introduction. The fatherly advice of the ostrich is delivered with a straight face, long-lashed eyes looking readers right in the eye. This belongs in every collection—for the poetry, for the photographs, for the information. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)Read full book review >
Released: April 20, 2009

Opposites attract—or do they? Diametrically different, chums Prudence and Moxie put their friendship to the test. A classic show-off, Moxie loves being the center of attention and accepts any dangerous dare like making "kissy faces at sharks" at the aquarium, rattling the gears on a giant tractor at the country fair or repeatedly riding the Submarine Sling in the amusement park. Prudence wants Moxie to meet her horse Thunder, but Moxie ignores her. Moxie's nonstop antics embarrass quiet, practical Prudence, who wishes Moxie had never moved next door. But when Moxie is hospitalized after one dare too many, Prudence proves a true pal and Moxie accepts her invitation to ride Thunder even though she's afraid of horses. Moxie's reckless personality assumes obsessive proportions in the amusing acrylic-and-collage illustrations, which show her gleefully engaged in one outrageous dare after another while bemused Prudence watches in horror. Their imaginative representation as whimsical critters (moose and raccoon) adds to the humor. This fanciful foray should tickle readers who have their own mismatched friends. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

Drawing inspiration from Edith Wharton's ghost story "Kerfol," this collection of five linked stories follows the mysterious and frightening events at a French estate over the centuries. The first story retells the events of Wharton's original, in which a young woman is convicted of murdering her husband, the aging lord of the manor. Subsequent stories feature a visiting artist, a spoiled rich girl, an American couple and a deaf gardener. All are visited by the various spirits that haunt the estate: Dead dogs roam the property, frightening visitors; a murdered lord seeks revenge for his untimely death; a beautiful maiden mourns her lost love in the orchards. Told from a variety of perspectives, each story builds on the last, drawing the reader deeper into the passion and misery that wind their way through the estate. Beautiful and genuinely frightening. (Fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

Even though she's still "a child with my hair yet cut across my forehead," the Emperor of China's daughter must leave her father's kingdom to marry the king of Khotan, who lives in a far-off desert oasis. The princess sadly recounts everything she will miss about her life at court: pink peach petals, yellow moons, pipa song, sparrows pecking at mud, red-crowned cranes and sour plums. Of the many splendors of her father's kingdom, none is more prized than the secret of the silkworm that feeds on mulberry leaves. To reveal this secret means punishment by death. But according to legend, the little princess is willing to risk all. When she departs for Khotan, her maid has cleverly woven silkworm cocoons and mulberry seeds into her hair so she can carry with her "some small piece of brightness, some shining memory." Written in the style of ancient Chinese poets, the text dwells lovingly on the pleasures of imperial life while splendid ink-and-watercolor illustrations poignantly capture the princess's leave-taking as well as details of palace life in images evocative of Chinese screen paintings. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

A companion volume to the collection Gothic (2004), this impressive anthology presents original short stories spotlighting the work of ten masters of dark fantasy. Fantasy readers will recognize some authors—Libba Bray, Holly Black, Chris Wooding—while others' stories will introduce whole new bodies of work. As should be expected, stories in this excellent grouping have a broad range of styles, themes and settings. Kelly Link's funny "The Wrong Grave" takes a punk/gothic view of a teen poet's reaction to his girlfriend's death; M. T. Anderson's "The Gray Boy's Work" depicts the aftermath of a man's participation in the American Revolution; and Holly Black's "The Poison Eaters" depicts a venomous family in a kingdom that never was. Although the authors have avoided the obvious (a notable shortage of zombie tales, for example), this potent mix of horror stories, with its literary touches that range from the humorous to the horrific, will attract readers with its promising title and keep them riveted to these splendid tales. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
Released: May 14, 2007

Eight-year-old Bulu tells of the two wild children, Kamala and Amala, who were brought to her Indian orphanage to be tamed like the jungle around them. Illustrated in somber shades of brown, green and purple, the book opens with a scene of a vast watery wilderness and tiny wolf mother outside her den, which recalls Thomas Locker. It closes with Kamala and Bulu huddled in a room while fireworks light up the denuded landscape outside. In lively prose that begs to be read aloud, the author brings to life a vanished imperial world of missionaries, orphanages and shadowy jungle. Stick-limbed children are a contrast to the oversized, more rounded animals. The message here is quite different from that in Jane Yolen's The Wolf Girls (2001), presented as a mystery: Were they or weren't they truly feral children? Basing her story on an actual incident in northwest India in 1920, the author includes a photograph of the girls, a note about the history and sources including a website from which you can access the missionary's own account. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
GOTHIC! by Deborah Noyes
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

By turns lyrical and bleak and leavened at times with grim, bleak humor or goofiness, the ten stories in this anthology either entertain or terrorize—or both. Although the title conjures up a vision of Victoria Holt-like heroines in peril, Noyes has assembled an exciting variety of dark fantasy and horror stories—all far more sinister and less predictable than formulaic "gothic" tales. After a rather tame start with Joan Aiken's Lungewater—that provides standard gothic fare—terror takes over. Vivian VandeVelde, M.T. Anderson, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, and others offer ghosts and vampires, ghouls and sorcerers, and monstrous family members to quicken the pulse and provide frissons of fear. Consistently well-written, these stories will appeal to many fantasy readers and all horror readers and they will lead to exploration of other writings by the authors. The level of terror, violence, and overt sexual content mark this book for older readers—who will enjoy it mightily. (Fiction YA)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

A tour de force for the artist, but a story that doesn't quite hang together. Ibatoulline has immersed himself in the style of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters, so that his acrylic gouache paintings have their rich gold glow, and his smaller pen-and-ink pieces are a beautiful homage to Rembrandt's vibrant line. But the tale, which attempts a view of 17th-century tulipomania from a child's point of view, is odd. Young Hana sees that her father is so preoccupied with trading and selling the precious bulbs that he no longer pays attention when he kisses her goodnight. She asks Cook and Mama and Gardener how to cheer him, and they offer her sprigs of rosemary, daisies, and fireflies. But it's family friend Rembrandt himself who gives Hana the idea to paint the tulip her father is so obsessed with, and he finds solace there even as his investments in the tulips disappear. Children (and adults) may not quite follow the story, since the resolution seems overly simple, but both will thrill to the beauty of the pictures and the tender concern of a child for her father. (author's note) (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >