GAME WORLD

Drawn from both video gaming culture and the rich tapestry of Jamaican myth and folklore, blending pointed social satire and mystical philosophy, this exuberant, original hero’s journey is a real trip.

Dylan’s one stressed-out sixth grader. His health’s iffy, he’s a target for bullies, and his eccentric sister, Emma—three years younger, but taller and in the same accelerated class—is a huge embarrassment. Now the Professor, their ornithologist guardian, has lost her job. No wonder he often feels “like he had sixteen browser windows open in his head all at once.” Dylan escapes into the world of “Xamaica,” an exciting video game at which he excels. With his friend Eli, and Emma tagging along, Dylan enters a tournament sponsored by the game’s manufacturer that promises a big payoff. “Xamaica” proves to be more than a video game. Guided by Ines, the CEO’s daughter, they probe its mysteries and, after Emma’s pulled into the game, search for her there, meeting Nestuh, a Rastafarian spider, a squadron of hummingbirds with a Wall Street mindset, the mysterious Nanni (good witch or villain?) and a host of other equally colorful beings. The debut’s wild plot wobbles at times but, supported by its sturdy premise, always regains its footing. The illustrations, capturing the mystery and menace of Xamaica’s denizens, along with their whimsical charm and pathos, are a treat. Exhilarating, thought-provoking and one of a kind. (glossary, bibliography) (Fantasy. 10-14)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61775-210-0

Page Count: 285

Publisher: Black Sheep/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPre's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of...

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998) brings back the doughty young wizard-in-training to face suspicious adults, hostile classmates, fretful ghosts, rambunctious spells, giant spiders, and even an avatar of Lord Voldemort, the evil sorcerer who killed his parents, while saving the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from a deadly, mysterious menace.

Ignoring a most peculiar warning, Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a dreadful summer with his hateful guardians, the Dursleys, and is instantly cast into a whirlwind of magical pranks and misadventures, culminating in a visit to the hidden cavern where his friend Ron's little sister Ginny lies, barely alive, in a trap set by his worst enemy. Surrounded by a grand mix of wise and inept faculty, sneering or loyal peers—plus an array of supernatural creatures including Nearly Headless Nick and a huge, serpentine basilisk—Harry steadily rises to every challenge, and though he plays but one match of the gloriously chaotic field game Quidditch, he does get in plenty of magic and a bit of swordplay on his way to becoming a hero again.

Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPre's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of broad boarding school farce and high fantasy. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 2, 1999

ISBN: 0-439-06486-4

Page Count: 341

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

more