Fairy Tales, Folktales and Myths Book Reviews

PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS by Diane Zahler
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 31, 2012

"A pleasant magical outing. (Fairy tale/fantasy. 8-12)"
In her third fairy-tale novelization, Zahler (The Thirteenth Princess, 2010, and A True Princess, 2011) dips into Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans" and mixes in a bit of Celtic folklore. Read full book review >
HAVOC by Jeff Sampson
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"Plenty of thrilling action, clearly with more to come. (Paranormal thriller. 12 & up)"
The second exciting installment in the continuing saga of a dorky daytime girl who morphs into a savvy, hot chick and/or werewolf at night. Read full book review >

HANS MY HEDGEHOG by Kate Coombs
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"Prickly, a bit funny and a bit dark: classic Grimm, modernized. (author's note) (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-10)"
Hans, half hedgehog and half human, lives as a hermit, deep in a forest with a rooster steed and an entourage of pigs, happily playing his fiddle, until two kings make promises that send him looking for his just reward: a princess. Read full book review >
JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantaskey
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 9, 2012

"Only readers absolutely desperate for another vampire romance need apply. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)"
This disappointing sequel to Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (2009) finds Jessica (a.k.a. Read full book review >
THE INVISIBLE TOWER by Nils Johnson-Shelton
ADVENTURE
Released: Dec. 27, 2011

"Gives new life to Arthurian legends and may just send readers back to more traditional tellings. (Adventure. 10-14)"
In his first novel for middle-grade readers, Johnson-Shelton serves up the first installment of an Arthurian trilogy starring 12-year-old video-gamer Artie Kingfisher. Read full book review >

SLAYERS by C. J.  Hill
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 22, 2011

"Frustratingly ridiculous and sometimes sloppy, but also enjoyably campy—redeemingly so. (Fantasy. 12-17)"
A rich socialite discovers her dragon-slaying heritage in an urban fantasy written under a pseudonym. Read full book review >
INHERITANCE by Christopher Paolini
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"Despite the long, anticlimactic wind-down, it is a strong conclusion to the crowd-pleasing series. (maps, multilingual word list) (Heroic fantasy. 12-15)"
Capping the former Inheritance Trilogy, this fourth epic-length episode brings teenage Dragon Rider Eragon at last to a decisive faceoff with his greatest enemy. Read full book review >
THE WITCH'S REVENGE by D.A. Nelson
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"Lovers of wisecracking fairies and broody vampires will find this twee, but it has its own silly charm. (Fantasy. 8-10)"
Stolen magical artifacts! Read full book review >
THE TWILIGHT CIRCUS by Di Toft
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Definitely a continuation rather than a freestanding episode, but the author keeps her ongoing plot galloping along and adds an assortment of marvelous new creatures to the cast. (Fantasy.10-13) "
An old foe sets a deadly trap for two young werewolves in a sequel framed by family reunions and positively festooned with hideous vampires. Read full book review >
THE MERMAID OF WARSAW by Richard Monte
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"So visit the Karkonosze Castle or the Wieliczka salt mine or the banished city of Wineta—you may be challenged, but you will not be disappointed. (Folktales. 8-12)"
A gratifying and unusual collection of folktales from Poland. Read full book review >
MARY ENGELBREIT'S NUTCRACKER by Mary Engelbreit
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers (2007) remains the quintessential interpretation, but there is room on the Christmas bookshelves for the Engelbreit version as well. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Engelbreit extends her collection of traditional children's stories with this retelling of the Christmas classic, which blends well with the artist's signature style of highly ornamented illustrations bursting with bows, candies and fantasy flowers. Read full book review >
DAVE AND VIOLET by Sarah Adams
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"A fitting fable for the very young about friendship and diversity. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Violet's best friend Dave has a hard time fitting in. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >