MAGIC BY HEART

Schmaltziness and humor, flights of fantastic magic intertwined with some serious soul-searching, not to mention innumerable artichokes, figure in this tale about plumbing the depths of the heart and misinterpreting how one is perceived by others. Though not completely convincing or logical, all comes out well in the end as Arietta, a girl blessed with the ability to see into people’s hearts and to fly with the aid of a magical cloak made from artichoke leaves, becomes involved with a bevy of human and talking-animal characters who effect a daring rescue when she’s kidnapped by a forlorn, self-hating magician whom she ultimately helps to find his true self. How this all happens makes for a fast-paced, though not compelling, read. Fans of fantasy plot lines will find enough to appreciate here, and there’s a happy ending in which a family is reunited. The characters aren’t especially captivating, though, and disparate elements don’t all come together. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1995-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

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THE NIGHT DANCE

Weak writing ruins a nicely structured integration of Arthurian legend with a Grimm’s fairy tale. Rowena’s locked up with her 11 sisters because her father’s afraid that they’ll disappear like their mother, Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake. Each night they disappear underground, where dancing destroys their elegant slippers. Elsewhere, Sir Bedivere promises a dying King Arthur to return Excalibur to Vivienne. Bedivere and Rowena share reciprocal mystical visions in which they fall in love. The sisters’ nightly dancing, as well as their goal of finding their lost mother, leads to the same enchanted underground lake as Bedivere’s task of honor. Details of “Twelve Dancing Princesses” are skillfully woven in with the Camelot plot; however, the text is cluttered with modifiers, the narration is unsubtle and trite and the workings of magic are shallow. Instead, see Vivian Vande Velde’s Book of Mordred (July 2005) and Dia Calhoun’s Phoenix Dance (October 2005). (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-4169-0579-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2005

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CHANGING MOON

From the Nola's Worlds series

Bubble-gum–tinged whimsy abounds in this stylish French graphic-novel import. Cotton-candy–tressed Nola spends her days dreaming in her peaceful town, Alta Donna. Her world is cozy and ordinary until she meets the aloof and mysterious Damiano and Inés. Nola quickly learns that there are strange forces after the siblings and is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Nola and her friends radiate a funky fashion sense, constantly changing clothes and hairstyles; it’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t want to raid her closet. This first installment propels forward with the force of a rocket—albeit a very pink, fanciful one. Luckily for the ravenous reader, the whole trilogy releases simultaneously (#2, Ferrets and Ferreting Out, PLB: 978-0-7613-6504-4; #3, Even for a Dreamer Like Me, PLB: 978-0-7613-6505-1). Though it's a fantastic visual experience, the actual plot is thin; even as Nola delves into the mystery in the subsequent volumes, the narrative never really gains any degree of complexity. However, with its upbeat palette (courtesy of Pop), manga-inspired art and hip characters, this charmer is sure to please preteen girls. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)



Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6538-9

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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