This goofy paranormal is packed with plenty of joyful silliness, from iridescent aliens to disgusting breakfast, despite...

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THE FOUR-FINGERED MAN

From the Gateway series , Vol. 1

When their parents decide to move to Forgotten Bay to take over a dilapidated seaside hotel where even radios don't work, Amelia and James are horrified.

Amelia, who misses gymnastics and her old friends, can't bear it. The hotel is freaky, their friends are far away, and the caretaker is a sinister old man with an eye patch and "something wrong" with his fingers: "He's missing a finger—creepy." It would be completely unbearable if it weren't for Charlie, the dorky local boy who's befriended Amelia and agrees that Tom's missing finger is "so creepy." There are plenty of mysteries to investigate in this shabby resort. There's the gadget that Charlie and Amelia find that “looks like lipstick for a robot” and seems to work like a camera. There's a giant tank of centipedes and a suitcase full of enticing, mesmerizing jewels. Even after they solve this set of mysteries, plenty of secrets are left for future series entries: who is Lady Naomi? What was the Whatever It Was that happened at James' old school? Is there something special behind the secret door hidden behind the painting of Matilda Swervingthorpe in Amelia's bedroom? What about the Krskn? Amelia, James, Charlie, and the lot all appear to be white in the uncredited illustrations. “Jones” is a pseudonym for Chris Morphew, Rowan McAuley, and David Harding.

This goofy paranormal is packed with plenty of joyful silliness, from iridescent aliens to disgusting breakfast, despite distracting, stale overuse of disability-as-horror tropes . (Science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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