THE NEDDIAD

HOW NEDDIE TOOK THE TRAIN, WENT TO HOLLYWOOD, AND SAVED CIVILIZATION

Pinkwater bills this tale of a lad who saves the post-WWII world from a sudden reversion to the Pleistocene Epoch as his best work yet. He’s right—for about the first third. When his well-heeled family boards the Super Chief for an impulsive move from Chicago to Hollywood, Neddie experiences an America rich in marvels, from elegant Pullman Porters and fellow passengers with colorful (if, Ned suspects, fictive) pasts to stunning natural wonders. A stranding in Flagstaff only adds to the adventure, as he falls in with the son of a renowned movie star and gets a car ride the rest of the way to California. He also meets a shaman named Melvin who hands him a small carved turtle that must be kept safe. Ned’s compelling sense of wonder and delight at each new sight or encounter positively propels his account of the cross-country journey along. But once he arrives in L.A., it begins to sputter, because aside from the odd and often surreal diversion, he and some new friends spend the next 200 pages essentially waiting around to find out just why that turtle is so important. Pinkwater is putting up a chapter a week on his website, and should be about halfway along to the mystical climax by the book’s publication date. Even confirmed fans might want to stick with the online version, tune out for a month or so and then tune back in to see everyone receive just deserts. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-59444-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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