Books by Elizabeth Kay

BACK TO THE DIVIDE by Elizabeth Kay
ADVENTURE
Released: July 1, 2004

This tepid second entry in the series has a tolerable plot arc but dull, zestless writing. Two creatures, from the magical realm he visited last summer, visit 14-year-old Felix, now cured (probably) of his fatal heart condition and happily at home in England. They freeze his parents with a marbleizing spell, and Felix is off again across "the Divide" to find a remedy. Many creatures figure into his adventure there, some recognizable from mythology but given unnecessary and pedestrian new names (unicorns are "brittlehorns," for example). Shallow writing kills potentially interesting ideas such as an exploration of free will and an archetypal plot reference to Sleeping Beauty; actions and feelings are told rather than shown and there's little for readers to sink their teeth into. Tedious. (Fantasy. 8-12)Read full book review >
THE DIVIDE by Elizabeth Kay
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2003

This journey to a parallel world is competent but unexceptional. Thirteen-year-old Felix, traveling despite his potentially fatal heart condition, stands on the Costa Rican Continental Divide, passes out, and ends up in a dimension where mythical creatures are real and humans are thought to be mythical. He makes friends with a tangle-child herbalist, and they work with others to stop an evil japegrin from marketing dangerous medicinal potions. Interwoven is Felix's personal quest for a potential heart remedy. Felix finally returns to his own world, but so does the evil japegrin, promising a hazard to humans that will probably begin the series' next entry. Pedestrian new names for classic mythical beings (pixies are "japegrins," unicorns "brittlehorns") are distracting, but worse is the unexamined question of why English is the explicitly acknowledged language of this realm entered through Costa Rica. Fine, but less creative than it sounds. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
BIZARRE BEASTS by Anita Ganeri
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

In this work, subtitled ``And Other Oddities of Nature,'' 12 spreads feature bizarre animals and plants and include sidebar discussions of other unusual products of the natural world. Among the oddities are the duck-billed platypus, hammerhead shark, matamata turtle, king vulture, vampire bat, Australian frilled lizard, giant anteater, and mandrill. Also appearing are incredible insects, fantastic fish, and amazing plants. Ganeri (Out of the Ark, p. 295, etc.) provides introductory paragraphs that are surrounded by five or six captioned full-color drawings, and a small range map as well as facts and vital statistics. The drawings, by various illustrators, are not to scale: The tiny vampire bat, with a wingspan of eight inches, appears the same size as the king vulture and its wing span of six-and-a-half feet; is the electric eel really larger than the swordfish? This title is fun for browsing, but not essential. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10) Read full book review >