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

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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A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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

DANGER! TIGER CROSSING

From the Fantastic Frame series , Vol. 1

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. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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