MAGIC FOR SALE

One-stop shopping for all your elixir, potion, and spellcasting needs. Jinxes 50 percent off! (Picture book. 6-9)

What would the stock of a magic shop be like? Young Georgie McQuist gets an eyeful one night when he lingers after closing time.

Actually the light-brown–skinned lad sneaks in on a dare, hides out next to the jars of “fresh pickled elf” until the doors are locked, then falls through a trap door to the crowded cellar. There, further eerie treasures from “freeze-dried ghoul and dragon drool” to “a kraken for your swimming pool” are all waiting to be inventoried by a harried ectoplasmic clerk. Undaunted, Georgie offers to help. Written in reasonably tight limerick-style verses that break into couplets for the actual inventory, the episode ambles along amiably until the arrival of the store’s cackling proprietor, Miss Pustula Night (a white woman with hooked nose and blonde hair in curlers). Seeing the tally complete, she decides not to eat Georgie but to send him on his way with a souvenir—a hairy pink monster that sends his classmates off screaming at school the next day. Beginning with an outside view of the shop, with its caged skeleton and toothy “Unwelcome Mat,” Shelley expands on Clickard’s tally of witchly and wizardly stock in trade by further cramming every nook and shelf in sight with precisely detailed arcane items and thrillingly icky specimens.

One-stop shopping for all your elixir, potion, and spellcasting needs. Jinxes 50 percent off! (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3559-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

MAGIC CANDIES

An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.

A child finds connection to the world all around in this Korean import.

The illustrations in this unusual picture book achieve a 3-D effect reminiscent of claymation. The opening scene shows an aerial view of a playground scattered with maple and gingko leaves; a tethered dog watches a child aiming at marbles. Accustomed to spending time alone and solitary play, Tong Tong’s fertile imagination infuses a bag of assorted spherical hard candies with powers that give voice to unlikely speakers, such as the living room sofa and Marbles the old dog, each speaking with Tong Tong to share a sentient perspective. The hard candies also channel the tough love hidden within Tong Tong’s father and Grandma’s bubbly, reassuring voice emanating from another realm. The candies’ magic reveals yet another dimension when Tong Tong is drawn outdoors to witness nature’s beauty as copious falling leaves bid farewell to the season. Through these uncanny exchanges, Tong Tong not only makes surprising discoveries, but also delves into complex emotions, celebrates a continuing relationship with Grandma, and takes courageous steps toward a tantalizing conclusion. The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective, featuring details some may find initially unsettling—along with the cryptic, open-ended narrative. That said, depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder.

An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2959-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

DANGER! TIGER CROSSING

From the Fantastic Frame series , Vol. 1

Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

Two kids get up close and personal with some great works of art in this first in a new series.

Tiger Brooks is used to his little sister’s fantastical stories. So when the top-hatted orange pig she describes turns out to be not only real, but a next-door neighbor, Tiger enlists the help of his kooky new friend, Luna, to investigate. It turns out the pig works for the reclusive painter Viola Dots. Years ago a magical picture frame swallowed up her only son, and she’s searched for him in artworks ever since. When Tiger’s tinkering starts the magic up again, he and Luna are sucked into a reproduction of Henri Rousseau’s Surprised! or Tiger in a Tropical Storm, hungry predator and all. After meeting and failing to rescue Viola’s son in this adventure, the series is set up for the intrepid pair to infiltrate other classic paintings in the future. Backmatter provides information on the real Rousseau and his life. Oliver keeps the plot itself snappy and peppy. While there are few surprises, there’s also an impressive lack of lag time. This is helped in no small part by Kallis’ art, which goes from pen-and-ink drawings to full-blown color images once the kids cross over into the painting. Tiger is a white boy, and Luna is a dark-haired Latina.

Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-448-48087-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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