A great choice for logophiles and budding authors.



From the Polly Diamond series , Vol. 1

A magic spelling book turns a young girl’s world upside down as her family prepares for the arrival of a new baby brother.

Polly Diamond is an aspiring writer and loves words—all kinds of words! But she especially loves the words in a new spelling book left mysteriously on her doorstep, because when she writes in the book, the book writes back. After writing a few lists and stories in the book, Polly soon realizes that the book’s magic also has the power to make her words come true. She wants to show her amazing new book to her family, but Mom and Dad are busy with work and preparing the house for the new baby, including moving Polly’s 3-year-old sister into Polly’s room. When Polly tries to use the spelling book to improve things (turning her house into an enormous mansion and turning her sister into a banana), she soon discovers that the words she loves don’t always mean what she wants them to. Kuipers spins an enchanting adventure of magic and mishaps as Polly tries to master the art of wishes and to balance her talent for stories with her need to be literal. Toledano’s spot illustrations provide visual depth and a dynamic dimension of representation to Polly’s multiracial family (Dad is white and Mom is a woman of color) and world.

A great choice for logophiles and budding authors. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5232-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests.


From the The Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 1

A lonely prince gains a friend for a quest to find a missing jewel.

Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could possibly want—except a friend. His father has forbidden him to play with the village children for reasons of propriety. Adventure-seeking Lucas acquires peasant clothes to masquerade as a commoner and make friends, but he is caught out. His mother, the queen, persuades the king to allow him one friend: Clara, the daughter of her personal dressmaker. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, Lucas and Clara set off to find it. They follow the jewel as it changes hands, interviewing each temporary owner. Their adventure cleverly introduces the series’ world and peoples, taking the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard island of Hobsgrove and finally Mermaid’s Cove. By befriending the mermaids, Lucas and Clara finally recover the jewel. In thanks, the king gives Clara a horse of her own so that she may ride with Lucas on their future adventures. The third-person narration is generally unobtrusive, allowing the characters to take center stage. The charming, medieval-flavored illustrations set the fairy-tale scene and take up enough page space that new and reluctant readers won’t be overwhelmed by text.

 A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9691-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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When Fred leaves his parents for the first time, his plans to be a ferocious dragon hit a snag. First Mrs. Green, the frog,...


Fred learns how to be true to himself and still be a dragon.

When Fred leaves his parents for the first time, his plans to be a ferocious dragon hit a snag. First Mrs. Green, the frog, mocks his roar as being like a meow, so, though Fred is supposed to eat humans, he gobbles her in one gulp. The princess thinks Fred’s fire looks like a candle, and a tiny bird is not afraid of him. They too meet in Fred’s tummy. Turns out, three’s a crowd for Fred’s stomach, and his intestinal pain leads him a solution that works for him and his crowd of helpers and new friends. Designed to encourage confident reading, the story alternates between long pages of text and highly illustrated pages with few words. Cartoon illustrations, especially details like the dragon’s red eyes and the giant’s warts and earring, help the newly independent reader follow the story, providing lots of visual cues which add the humor. When human John Little voluntarily walks into Fred’s open mouth and extricates his complaining contents, the illustrations turn energetic, with flying critters filling the air. New readers will love the humorous pictures and stay for the engaging tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-87180-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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