Young readers will be enchanted.


From the Once Upon a Fairy Tale series , Vol. 2

Mystery solvers Kara and Zed help crack the Cinderella case in the second Once Upon a Fairy Tale chapter book.

Handsome, dashing Prince Patrick and his cute puppy, Duncan, stop in at Kara’s family shoe shop because the glass slipper left behind by the mysterious woman who captured his heart at a ball—his only clue to finding her—has been stolen from his library, and he’s looking for leads on who made it. As it was fairy godmother–made, Kara’s parents can’t help, but Kara offers her sleuthing services, together with her best friend, Zed. When the offer is quickly rejected (after Patrick consults his adviser), Kara decides they’ll solve the mystery anyway. While the villain (and motive) behind the crime is revealed early, setting a trap for and catching said villain is only half of the puzzle. The other half is finding the shoe so that Cinderella’s story can proceed on schedule. The mystery is well-structured for its age group, with all of the pieces (including red herrings) laid out early and then spotlighted at crucial moments, enabling readers to solve right alongside the racially diverse heroes—in the black-and-white illustrations, Kara and Cinderella are pale while Patrick and Zed have dark skin. The art’s expressiveness buttresses the characterization and highlights key amusing animal moments (a welcome carryover from series opener The Magic Mirror, 2019).

Young readers will be enchanted. (Fantasy/mystery. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-34975-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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No surprises here.



From the Disney's Spooky Zone series

The famous Disney duck triplets, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, travel to Berlin and uncover a sinister plot.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie are living with their uncle Donald in Duckburg when they’re appointed International Student ambassadors by the National Association of Studious and Talented Youth. This gives them the opportunity to become exchange students and live in several countries for two-month stints in each. First on the list: Germany. The triplets arrive in Berlin, and a rather transparent mystery reveals itself when a schoolmate starts behaving strangely after being gifted a soccer ball by the mysterious Dr. Z. The light mocking of German culture (cuisine and names in particular) is in poor taste. Dewey, being the middle brother and feeling left out, narrates, but the other brothers chime in regularly. Unfortunately, the varying fonts used for each brother aren’t easily distinguishable and may lead to confusion for readers. Additionally, seemingly arbitrary words are set in boldface, and more than halfway through the book, speech bubbles begin to appear—questionable design choices that may also perplex. Ferrari’s spot art is featured on nearly every page and should help attract reluctant readers. The triplets are easily recognizable, and all characters are very expressive. There’s not much here that won’t be obvious to astute readers, but it may draw in fans of the TV show DuckTales. Oh, and this one isn’t for arachnophobes!

No surprises here. (Adventure. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5077-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers.


From the King & Kayla series

King and Kayla, the detective duo, are back to solve the mystery of Kayla’s missing tooth.

King, the happy and hilarious golden retriever narrator, anxiously awaits the return of his human, Kayla, who’s been at school for “eleventy seven hours. Maybe even eleventy seven days.” When Kayla finally arrives home, she has big news: She’s lost a tooth! Kayla is excited to use her class’s tooth-fairy pillow that night, but, alas, her tooth is missing! Though King discovers the pillow smells like turkey sandwiches (his favorite food), just like Kayla’s teeth, her tooth is nowhere to be found. The pair checks the car, the last place Kayla saw the tooth, and King finds lots of crumbs (more of his favorite foods) but no tooth. And so it goes, and Kayla must go to bed with an empty pillow. In the morning, Kayla finds a dollar, a dog treat, and a note from the tooth fairy even though her tooth wasn’t there. But when King notices the pillow still smells like turkey sandwiches, he’s found the final clue. Each page includes illustrations that are often humorous and highlight the affection between King and Kayla, who is depicted with brown skin and Afro-textured hair.

This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56145-880-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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