A fine collection to share, whether read aloud or told.

THE COMING OF THE UNICORN

SCOTTISH FOLK TALES FOR CHILDREN

Gather the bairns and the grown folk and set sail for a fine collection of Scottish tales retold by a master storyteller.

Williamson was celebrated for a lifetime of traveling the byways of Scotland, collecting and telling tales. In these 18 stories, broonies, fairies and, of course, a unicorn cross paths with common folk on a regular basis. There’s a lesson to be learned from each tale, about friendship, kindness, sharing or doing one’s duty. Also inherent in most of the tales is a strong respect for nature and for animals. Womankind fares quite well here, as princesses and poor girls strike out on their own and succeed. In "House of the Seven Boulders, a mother with magical gifts doesn’t hesitate to do in her own seven destructive sons. Storytellers will recognize many of the motifs and marvel at the familiarity of "The Tailor and the Button." The writing is nicely flavored with Scottish words and phrasing that have not been Americanized. (Occasionally, this results in words that have far different meanings in each country.) As his daughter notes in her introduction, Williamson believed that stories, unlike toys, can “last you the entire time of your life.”

A fine collection to share, whether read aloud or told. (glossary) (Folklore. 8 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-86315-868-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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