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THE CURSE ON SPECTACLE KEY

Supernatural mystery meets generational drama with hopeful endings for all.

Eleven-year-old Frank must solve a supernatural mystery to save his new home.

As fifth grade comes to an end, Frank Fernández is looking forward to finally staying put in Alabama for a second year, as promised, after a childhood spent following his parents’ home renovation work all across the country. Frequent relocation has made Frank wary of forming friendships or making plans, but his hopes for more stability are temporarily dashed when his parents announce plans to renovate a lighthouse in the Florida Keys, near where his mother grew up and his father’s home country of Cuba. Papi promises this will be their last move, though: The lighthouse will be theirs. But from their first day on Spectacle Key, things seem to go wrong: Tensions rise between his parents, and Frank’s hopes of a forever home are under threat from seemingly supernatural forces. In order to put down roots, Frank and new ghostly friend Connie, a White girl with freckles, must discover what secrets the island is hiding, uncovering Frank’s own family roots along the way. Frank is a fan of horror—he names his new Great Dane puppy Mary Shelley. But though there is some mild peril to be found, rather than a ghostly thriller, this is an appealing, lightly spooky family drama with valuable lessons for those who would hide from a difficult past instead of confronting and healing generational trauma.

Supernatural mystery meets generational drama with hopeful endings for all. (Supernatural. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-313481-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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