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

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MAGIC FOR SALE

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 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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The underwater setting adds some dimension to straightforward friendship stories.

TROUBLE AT TRIDENT ACADEMY

From the Mermaid Tales series , Vol. 1

Prolific Dadey's (Keyholders: The Wrong Side of Magic, 2010, etc.) latest series follows young mermaids through turbulent friendships.

Eight-year-old best friends Shelly and Echo are overjoyed to be starting school at the prestigious Trident Academy at the same time. Rambunctious and good-natured, together they cause mild trouble, especially in trying to find a way to make grumpy Mr. Fangtooth crack a smile. Their friendship wobbles when they disagree over whether to ask Shelly's grandfather for help on a school project or not. The minor tiff leads to Echo's sudden friendship with Pearl, a rich snob who dislikes Shelly most of all. Echo and Shelly miss each other, though, and restore their friendship while reaching out to another mermaid who is new to the area and has made friends. While Echo and Shelly are not particularly distinctive, and Pearl and the archetypal token boy, Rocky, are cartoony, the characters' interactions are funny and believable. The friendship-driven conflicts continue in Battle of the Best Friends (publishing simultaneously). In Battle, Pearl books a top under-the-sea band to perform and invites Echo but not Shelly; the end again reinforces the importance of inclusiveness and rewards those who are nice.

The underwater setting adds some dimension to straightforward friendship stories. (class reports written by each character, song lyrics, author's note, glossary) (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4978-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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An earnest, emotionally honest effort with lovely illustrations complementing a sweet if sentimental message.

LOVE, SANTA

A girl named Lucy writes letters to Santa each Christmas as she comes to understand who Santa really is.

The story opens when Lucy is 5, as she prints her letter to Santa, tongue sticking out with the effort. The letter is shown in the accompanying illustration, and a facsimile letter is included in a fancy, gold envelope glued into the book. Lucy’s letters from the next two Christmases are included in similar, attached envelopes, along with two letters in red envelopes that Santa leaves in response. When Lucy is 8, she writes a note to her mom asking if she is Santa, on Christmas morning receiving a letter in one of Santa’s red envelopes but written by Lucy’s mom. This letter is long and sentimental, explaining that “parents” give the actual presents, but the spirit of Santa is real. Charming watercolor illustrations show Lucy’s development. One picture of Santa looking on in dismay as Lucy writes a doubtful letter (“Why does your handwriting look like my mom’s?”) introduces ambiguity about what’s real and what isn’t. (Lucy is also shown riding her bike without a helmet.) Lucy, her parents, and Santa are white; background figures are racially diverse. The admission of parental involvement in Santa’s gift deliveries may make it unsuitable in households with little ones who still believe in Santa’s magic.

An earnest, emotionally honest effort with lovely illustrations complementing a sweet if sentimental message. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-70030-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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