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Sit back and listen to the words of the old folks and their bygone ways.

More traditional tales from Scotland.

Williamson, who died in 2007, was one of Scotland’s Travelling People, and he collected and told stories from the oral tradition. In this companion to The Coming of the Unicorn (2012), humans, rabbits, foxes, donkeys and hedgehogs “follow the solar year and mark the progress of its seasons according to Traveller tradition.” Each tale rewards goodness and kindness over greed and selfishness. Some will be familiar to storytellers, including “The Twelve White Swans” and “Princess and the Glass Hill.” There’s a rewarding mix of humor, trickery and devotion, along with cautionary tales about spiders and flies, safety in numbers and listening to gossip. Three Christmas stories, religious and secular, and a touching tale of Father Time and the coming of the New Year conclude the volume. Storytellers and those who enjoy reading aloud will find this an excellent resource filled with lively language. Ever-present is an enormous respect for traditional ways and beliefs, as written in the opening lines of “The Twelve Seasons”: “My father told me this story years and years ago when I was wee. I never saw it in a book or heard anyone before him telling it.”

Sit back and listen to the words of the old folks and their bygone ways. (glossary of Scottish words) (Folk tales. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-7825-0017-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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From the Land of Roar series , Vol. 1

A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence.

A fantasy world comes to life and lures its young creators back into it in this imaginative middle-grade debut and U.K. import.

Narrator Arthur always loved playing make-believe in Grandad’s attic with his twin sister, Rose. Years ago they dreamed up Roar, a magical land that they entered via an old fold-up cot that acted as a portal. Now that they are 11 and starting school at Langdon Academy, Rose has new friends and wants nothing to do with her brother or their imaginary world. Rose may be done with Roar, but it’s not finished with her. When their grandfather is kidnapped and taken into Roar, Arthur and Rose must team up to mount a rescue mission. McLachlan does an excellent job of establishing the sibling tension before introducing the fantasy elements, and Rose’s desire to grow up and fit in feels as familiar and accessible as Arthur’s yearning to remain a child. While obviously reminiscent of classic fantasy, this narrative’s sheer inventiveness marks it as distinct. The twins’ widowed grandfather, a larger-than-life jokester from Mauritius, is a Peter Pan–like figure whose abduction brings the narrative into Roar, allowing the text and Mantle’s illustrations to go wild with creativity. The use of a wordless double-page spread to depict Arthur’s arrival into the fantasy realm is particularly inventive. Arthur and Rose are depicted as kids of color.

A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-298271-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A thoughtful, humorous, community-centered exploration of identity and Buddhism.

Stories of Buddha’s past lives help a young boy “find [himself] in the moment.”

Binh and his siblings, who are of Vietnamese descent, can’t believe they’re spending the weekend at a silent meditation retreat. Binh would rather play his Game Boy so he doesn’t have to meditate and inevitably think about the bullies at school. It is only when Sister Peace tells stories about the Buddha and his past life that Binh is able to imagine himself entering a video game–inspired world and thus process his feelings of shame, isolation, and anger. With each Jataka tale, Binh’s awareness expands, and so, too, does his ability to be present for and helpful to those around him. A welcome addition to the handful of middle-grade stories featuring Buddhist protagonists, this exploration of identity and Buddhist principles will find an audience with young readers who love Raina Telgemeier but aren’t quite ready to level up to the complexity and nuance of Gene Luen Yang’s epic American Born Chinese (2006). The video game elements are compelling, although they understandably diminish as the story progresses and the protagonist’s inner life grows. Warm fall colors and luscious black lines anchor the story as it transitions among flashbacks, stories, and the present day. Filled with talking animals, the parables can be a little heavy-handed, but the witty banter between Binh and the narrator during fantasy sequences provides levity. (This review was updated for accuracy.)

A thoughtful, humorous, community-centered exploration of identity and Buddhism. (bibliography) (Graphic fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9780759555488

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Little, Brown Ink

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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