Winsomely harking back to the oldest children’s classics, this has special appeal for romantic bibliophiles.

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THE LOST FAIRY TALES

From the Pages & Co. series , Vol. 2

Why is the new head of the Underlibrary cracking down on bookwandering?

After Enoch Chalk escaped into fiction in series opener The Bookwanderers (2018), the old Head Librarian was disgraced. Her replacement, the smarmy demagogue Melville, begins his tenure with a bang: He forbids Oskar and Tilly from bookwandering, bans Tilly’s whole family from the British Underlibrary, and implements tracking measures to locate every bookwanderer. Oskar and Tilly are ready to battle the new regime, and they don’t understand the wariness of Tilly’s grandparents, who warn them to obey the new rules. When they disobey the adults’ dire warnings and enter a book of fairy tales, they discover horrible dangers. Fairy-tale characters are dissolving into black ooze or vanishing altogether. Oskar’s kidnapped into Rapunzel’s story, and even Tilly, who’s half-fictional on her father’s side, is hard-pressed to rescue him. The fairy-tale boundaries are so corrupted that Rapunzel is besieged by countless worthless Prince Charmings—Tilly and Oskar had best find out what’s wrong posthaste. Droll illustrations spice up the text, though frequent changes of typeface add distraction rather than flair. An author’s note on fairy tales is insufficiently clear on the distinction between the oral tradition and original tales. The story itself is clearer on this point, which is lucky, as fairy tales’ having no original source edition is key to the adventure. Oskar has brown skin; Tilly (and most other human characters) seems to be white.

Winsomely harking back to the oldest children’s classics, this has special appeal for romantic bibliophiles. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3729-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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

TUCK EVERLASTING

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

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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...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

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

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