Books by Luli Gray

THE PEAR TREE by Luli Gray
Released: Oct. 8, 2019

"An unsatisfying retelling. (Picture book. 7-10)"
Esperanza, an old Spanish woman, loses her pear crop to a hailstorm. Read full book review >
Released: April 4, 2005

The third title in Falcon's story lacks the luminous perfection of Falcon's Egg but manages to touch on a number of interesting ideas before ending in a knot of sadness and hope. Falcon is 13 now, and she is beginning to think that magic is a pain, keeping her from really important things like being popular or knowing which boys are hot. An incident at the swimming pool allows for a set piece about adolescent embarrassment (and belief that one is the center of the universe) that is worth the price of admission. With a new friend who can also see dragons Falcon visits her mentor Aunt Emily, now well over a hundred years old, and when Aunt Emily seems to be dying, both girls manage to spin her back in time a hundred years to a charming New York City of 1903. Those pieces are full of welcome glimpses of characters from the other books, but in the end, Aunt Emily needs to face her death, and Falcon, her life. Thought provoking even if not entirely cohesive. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: April 21, 2003

New York's labyrinthine American Museum of Natural History becomes the site of more marvels, as the author of Falcon's Egg (1995) sends fraternal twins Alice and Fig spinning into a diorama that is also a gateway in time and space. It's a "bad, sad, mad" time for the twins, whose mother lies in a coma after an accident. Seeking some solace in roaming the halls of the museum where she works, the twins chance upon a window that isn't glass, and find themselves in 1913 France, where a museum expedition is collecting rare specimens. Their attempt to return to their own time sends them further back—thousands of years, in fact, to meet Oomor, a friendly Neanderthal shaman who introduces them to another victim of the diorama, a genial museum artist named Hieronymous Quigley who has not only taught Oomor broken English, but turned him into an accomplished cave painter as well. Oomor also proves to have a will of iron, and though all three visitors are understandably reluctant to attempt another return to the 20th century, he chivvies them into trying. All ends well—better than expected, in fact, for by journeying into the past, the twins have changed the future, and among other pleasant surprises, their mother is awake and waiting for them. Despite the stressful family situation, this lightweight adventure, featuring bright ten-year-old protagonists, a colorful supporting cast, encounters with woolly mammoths and other extinct creatures, and more discomfort than outright danger, will provide an enjoyable ride for fans of science-tinged fantasy. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2001

In a sequel to the beguiling Falcon's Egg (1995), Gray continues her sweetly old-fashioned fantasy about a girl and her dragon. After a visit to their divorced father in Australia, 12-year-old Falcon and her little brother Toody are saved by Egg, Falcon's erstwhile pet dragon, from what could have been a tragic (if implausible) accident. When Falcon turns to an ingratiatingly eccentric witch and another (elderly) dragon to locate her accidentally mislaid brother, the misadventures begin. Falcon and company are swept off to a fantastic alternative New York, while her father and his aboriginal allies attempt to protect Egg from the triple menace of sightseers, the military, and (most sinister) a blowhard talk-show host. Eventually, the villains are routed, the grownups learn to believe in magic, and serious-minded Falcon achieves a new degree of self-confidence. Leavening a riotous imagination with a delightful practicality (flying dragonback still requires bathroom breaks), and chock-full of allusions to children's and world literature (the dragons speak in mangled classical quotations), Gray's style is reminiscent of the lighthearted charm of Edward Eager. But lacking his subtly dark infrastructure, the author's fluffy soufflé of a plot eventually collapses under the weight of its own whimsy, degenerating into a confusing anticlimactic confrontation and lowbrow jokes about dragon flatus. Still, Falcon is an engaging heroine, and middle-school readers will no doubt look forward to her further adventures. Sources for the quotations, along with a cookie recipe, are included in the endmatter. (Fiction. 9-13)Read full book review >
FALCON'S EGG by Luli Gray
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

A wonderfully beguiling story of a Manhattan sixth grader who finds something unusual in Central Park. Falcon's first thought when she sees the large, red egg that is almost too hot to hold is that it must be a secret. She slips it past her mother and hides it with a neighbor. Months later, before a fascinated audience that includes Great-Aunt Emily and Freddy, a museum ornithologist, Egg hatchesa baby dragon. Caring for a dragon is no easy task; Egg eats everything except birdseed, won't drink anything that isn't boiling, and becomes dangerously hot. Further, his wings begin to develop. Despite the usual disclaimer, these characters don't seem fictitious; from bumbling Freddy to lonely, fiercely possessive Falcon, each has a past (especially Emily, who turns out to know an amazing amount about dragons), a distinct personality, and an individual voice. Egg, too is entirely convincing, with her tiny red scales, golden claws, and distracted air; like a lion cub or a young hawk, she seems tame when small, but is really a dangerous wild animal, and in the end, she must be released. In a grand debut, Gray deftly mixes the marvelous and the ordinary, adding touches of comedy and magic, enriching the plot with well-chosen subplots, and leaving out predictable twists and bad guysFalcon's conflicts are almost entirely internal ones. Engaging, intelligent, and well-wrought: the best dragon story since Donn Kushner's A Book Dragon (1988). (Fiction. 9-12) Read full book review >