A well-stirred, high-spirited medley of traditional elements.


From the A Jack Tale series

In a yarn based on songs and tales heard in Newfoundland and Labrador, a cocky young card shark takes on Greensleeves, the tricksy “grand vizier of all magicians.”

Having held a pack of cards practically since birth, Jack, known as “Jack o’ Hearts,” will play anyone—even the green man made of grass and nettles, lily pads, and wax beans who comes into the church hall one Twelfth Night. A win and a loss later, the green man declares that the tiebreaker for Jack’s life will be played at Greenchapel…wherever that might be. Left to find the way on his own, Jack charms his way past encounters with surly giants and other obstacles. Reaching the magician’s hideaway is only the start of Jack’s trials, as he finds himself tasked with climbing a “glassen pole” and other seemingly impossible feats. Luckily, Jack has an ally in Greensleeves’ youngest daughter, Ann (“dark skin, with a hint of green, and black black hair”), who is a powerful magician herself and furthermore willing to jump the broom with him if they can only escape her father’s wrath. Jones tells the latest in his series of eastern seaboard Jack tales with a confident lilt. Erdelji enhances its flow with ingenuously drawn scenes within broadly brushed circular borders and a tongue-in-cheek tone with marginal vignettes that resemble medieval graffiti.

A well-stirred, high-spirited medley of traditional elements. (long source note) (Folk tale. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927917-07-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...


At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

Did you like this book?

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...


Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet