Another lightweight creature feature, with a teeming supporting cast of ookie-spookies. (Comic horror. 8-11)

THE NORTHERN FRIGHTS

From the Scary School series , Vol. 3

Six more-or-less-human Scary School students try their luck at frozen, all-monster Scream Academy (“Be judicious or be delicious”) as part of an exchange program.

The experiment goes well enough at first—at least there aren’t any immediate casualties—as the six are conveyed north of the Arctic Circle by giant polter-bears and thrust into classrooms filled with malign trolls, ogres, witches and worse. In chapters with titles like “The Deadly Loogie” and “Severed Head of the Class,” nerdy Charles Nukid and his quailing classmates soldier on. They squeak past a continual barrage of deadly threats to a culminating one in the form of Mortazella, a huge Ice Dragon out to destroy all the monster schools. With help from a fiery sword, some much-more-fiery hot peppers and friends like Penny Possum, whose silence literally speaks volumes, Charles prevails and returns to Scary School in triumph. As in previous episodes, the monster count is high, but the body count and the level of actual violence are low. Also as before, the author/narrator (“Derek the Ghost”) tucks an extra chapter of thrills into the series’ website. It’s billed as a trilogy finale for no evident reason except, perhaps, premise exhaustion, but that’s a pretty good one. Finished art not seen.

Another lightweight creature feature, with a teeming supporting cast of ookie-spookies. (Comic horror. 8-11) (Comic horror8-11)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-196098-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Come for the mystery, stay for the backmatter.

JULIETA AND THE DIAMOND ENIGMA

This gentle, fast-paced mystery will hook readers with interesting details.

Julieta Leal, 9, is a magnet for disasters. She has a reputation at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where both her parents work, for making trouble. Julieta is just trying to help, and it’s not her fault that sometimes things get broken or she has a hard time following the rules. When Julieta’s dad invites her along on a trip to Paris regarding the loan of some pieces from the Louvre, she jumps at the chance to add another purple pin to her family’s world-travel map. She promises to be helpful and stay out of trouble and desperately wants to shed her reputation of being a liability. This proves difficult when the dazzling Regent Diamond is stolen and Julieta and her dad are implicated in the theft. With her dad’s job in peril and the prized gem missing, Julieta must rely on her keen observations and tenacity to clear their names. Detailed descriptions of Paris landmarks and factual information about museum pieces are woven naturally into the fast-moving plot so that readers come away with knowledge of these topics alongside a satisfying story. Several pages of backmatter notes bolster the learning. The endearing Julieta is bilingual, and she and her family are Mexican American.

Come for the mystery, stay for the backmatter. (glossaries) (Mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64379-046-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more