A winsome tale that will make the minds of early chapter-book readers sparkle.

READ REVIEW

HARPER AND THE CIRCUS OF DREAMS

Harper seeks the origins of the song she hears only in her dreams.

She’s an orphan, but Harper is lovingly cared for by her aunt and other eccentric residents of the Tall Apartment Block. Harper’s three uncommonly talented preteen friends, a silver wolf, and a mandolin-playing cat make up her beloved co-adventurers. In this sequel to Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella (2017), she still longs to understand the mystery of her absent parents, who left only a smudged note as a clue. Harper can play any instrument but has yet to find the special one that will bring to life the haunting music in her heart and dreams. As Harper and her friends travel through the sky one day, carried along by her flying red umbrella, they encounter an ethereal girl, Skylar, who is flitting among clouds that are held aloft by birds and tightropes. Skylar eventually leads them to the magic Circus of Dreams in the sky. There, they encounter numerous dazzling performers and mysterious places, such as the bake shop where, with one bite of a harp-shaped cookie, the mind fills with music. Brimming with charming illustrations and written with flowing wonderment, this is a fantastical slip of a story where magic and music combine to create enchantment. Harper and her friends Ferdie and Liesel are white, her friend Nate is black, and Skylar is depicted with dark skin.

A winsome tale that will make the minds of early chapter-book readers sparkle. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1567-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them.

THE MADRE DE AGUAS OF CUBA

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 5

The Unicorn Rescue Society investigates the disappearance of a Cuban sea serpent.

In the fifth series installment, returning protagonists Uchenna and Elliot are in school, learning about water, when Professor Fauna calls them away. As the kids board the professor’s rickety single-propeller plane, they learn where exactly they are heading: Cuba. The island is in the middle of a massive drought, and Professor Fauna has reason to believe that the Madres de aguas (the Mother of Waters) has gone missing. It’s up to the society to find the sea serpent before any more damage is done to the people and wildlife of Cuba. As they set out on their mission of derring-do, they realize that once again they are up against their nemeses, the Schmoke Brothers. Via Yoenis, their Cuban American society liaison, Uchenna, Elliot, and readers learn about the political and economic hardships experienced by the people of Cuba, the island’s lack of basic goods and necessities, and Cuba’s need for real democracy (although the current role of the military is elided). This is conveyed within a quick, fast-paced read that’s ideal for kids who want a straightforward magical adventure. Uchenna is Nigerian, Elliot is white and Jewish, and Professor Fauna is Peruvian.

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3142-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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