A challenging and entirely unique Dutch import.



At the end of an isolated road outside a small village in Holland in 1937, Fing and her eccentric family find themselves in a strange house that gives up its secrets reluctantly and with far-reaching consequences.

Young Fing is stalwart, compassionate and truth-seeking, but she is not an omniscient narrator, for she learns the intricate, tangled stories as they are doled out piecemeal by her grandmother Oma Mei, who is hiding as many secrets as the house. The work’s three-part construction weaves the events surrounding Fing’s family with an earlier cast of characters from the 1860s. Each part has a distinct tone and sensibility. In the first and third parts, Fing and her sisters rise to the challenges of life with their ever optimistic father, their somewhat inept older brothers, and the mad and mysterious Hatsi. All the while, they grow increasingly uncomfortable with the puzzles posed by the house and Oma Mei’s sometimes-contradictory tales. The middle part, Charley and Nienevee’s story, is narrated by Oma and has a darker and more sinister quality. Lindelauf lures readers into the intrigue and mystery of it all and then demands their intense concentration. Every element of the tale has a purpose, and in the end, the multiple layers of past and present separate and come together in surprising, often discomfiting twists and turns.

A challenging and entirely unique Dutch import. (translator’s note, character list, slang word list, map, contents) (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59270-146-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Rich and strange of place and premise; suspenseful and thought-provoking.


An ancient inscription and a handful of inscrutable artifacts plunge three young people into both the War of 1812 and a much larger, older conflict.

Opening in Baltimore then moving on to the not-entirely-earthly town of Nagspeake (setting, in another era, of Milford’s Greenglass House, 2014), the tale centers on staid, methodical “natural philosopher” Max Ault; 12-year-old American naval officer Oliver Dexter; and fiery Lucy Bluecrowne, daughter of a renowned British privateer, captain of the titular ship. It pits them against both relentless French pursuers and mysterious men in black with eldritch abilities. The prize is a three-part device made thousands of years ago and said to be able to stop war…a superweapon, or so everyone (nearly everyone) presumes. Along with being replete with rousing chases, races, and violent explosions, the tale is uncommonly rich in memorable characters, from the central three, who all display stout hearts and hidden depths, to Lucy’s 9-year-old half brother, part-Chinese Liao: pacifist, expert lockpick, and fireworks genius extraordinaire. The labyrinthine Nagspeake itself is magical and vivid enough to serve as more than just a setting (and deservedly sports a metafictional website). Wheeler’s neatly turned monochromes capture the tale’s warmth and wonder, though (at least as she depicts it) the cast appears to be white, excepting Liao.

Rich and strange of place and premise; suspenseful and thought-provoking. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9800-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A respectful, sometimes irreverent and broadly multicultural treasury of dramas, romances, chillers, knee-slappers and...



In this much-expanded version of a 1992 collection, two veteran storytellers present tales that were being told in the Americas, North Africa and on the Iberian Peninsula the day Christopher Columbus made landfall.

Probably, that is. As their conscientious source notes indicate, the 50-plus short myths, legends, anecdotes and animal tales (up from 20 in Stories from the Days of Christopher Columbus) were all gathered from later collections or learned from modern members of indigenous groups. Still, the cross-sectional approach results in a mix of relatively well-known episodes with those that are less familiar. Among the former are “Why Anansi Has a Narrow Waist,” a Spanish version of “The Three Sillies” called “Bastianito” and two verse extracts from the legends of El Cid. Readers are less likely to know scary tales from Aztec Zempoala and Tlacopán, exploits of the clever Mayan “Dwarf of Uxmal,” creation myths from Taíno Guanahaní, Basque, and Moroccan Jewish tales—among dozens of other rarities from carefully specified locales. Despite a generally informal tone (“King Sancho the Eleventy Leventh became angry”), this lends itself less to reading straight through than using as a storyteller’s resource; along with frequent prefatory cultural notes, the Youngs add discussion points, glossaries, and inserted pronunciations for proper names and non-English phrases.

A respectful, sometimes irreverent and broadly multicultural treasury of dramas, romances, chillers, knee-slappers and teaching tales. (introduction) (Folk tales. 11-14, adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-939160-73-7

Page Count: 180

Publisher: August House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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