JUST A PINCH OF MAGIC

An enchanting tale of love.

Two 12-year-olds find the friendship they’ve craved and unite to save their magical town.

Winifred has grown up in Honeycrisp Hill, Rhode Island, where her family is despised, thanks to her biological mother’s curse. The only place she feels at home is the family bakery, but as the cost of enchanted ingredients rises, business is suffering. Wini’s plan to help involves executing a slightly illegal love spell from her family’s grimoire. Her first goal: finding her dad the perfect man. Meanwhile, Kaliope is from Boston, where she couldn’t practice magic. She welcomes the move to Honeycrisp Hill, hoping it’ll mean more time with her frequently absent father, but the grandfather she knew nothing about shows up to help them reopen the town’s haunted bookstore. Next, an Enchantment Agency officer arrives to investigate “a wickedness that’s been called to town.” Despite a bumpy start, Wini and Kal become friends; together they try to banish the wickedness and even play matchmaker between their dads. YA author Dow’s middle-grade debut is brimming with magic—and enticing recipes for readers to try. She holds space for the loneliness that both girls experience and for Kal’s struggles with anxiety. Her superb worldbuilding and the authentic dialogue between the quirky, beguiling characters will draw readers in, while the heart-pounding tension and strong pacing will lead them to the satisfying conclusion. Wini and her family are Black; Kal’s dad is white, and her birth mom is from Chile.

An enchanting tale of love. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781250829115

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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

THE ONE AND ONLY RUBY

Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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