Sword-swinging ghosts will haunt readers of this droll, harrowing and historically grounded ghost story.

GHOST KNIGHT

“Banished” to boarding school in contemporary Salisbury, England, 11-year-old Jon finds himself targeted by phantom riders determined to punish him for something that happened centuries before.

When his mother sends him off to Salisbury Cathedral School, Jon arrives “shrouded in thick mists of homesickness.” Pursued by ghost riders only he can see and who call him “Hartgill,” his mother’s maiden name, a terrified Jon confides in fearless classmate Ella. She takes him to her grandmother, an expert on local ghosts. Ella’s grandmother warns Jon he’s being haunted by the ghost of Lord Stourton, a villain hanged in 1556 for the murders of Jon’s Hartgill ancestors. Ella suggests Jon evoke the ghost of William Longspee, a famous knight buried in Salisbury Cathedral. Longspee’s ghost proves a valorous champion, helping Jon eradicate Stourton and his vendetta. But Longspee harbors his own dark secret, which Jon pledges to resolve. Historic details about the real Hartgill, Longspee and Stourton are deftly woven into a ripping good story. It's told with self-effacing humor from the perspective of an awkward boy who emerges as honorable and brave as the ghost knight and the contemporary girl he befriends. Black-and-white illustrations add to the Tudor atmosphere and drama.

Sword-swinging ghosts will haunt readers of this droll, harrowing and historically grounded ghost story. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-05614-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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