Cat and magic fans, unite!

DUNCAN, SON OF SAGIRA

The cats are not what they seem.

Duncan’s feline mother always knew he was different. She had seen his newborn kitten eyes flash gold, just as hers did when she had visions of the future. He seems to have inherited the ancient magic of Sagira, a cat that possessed powers feared by both cats and humans. Now, cats conceal their intelligence and ability to talk from humans, although it was not always this way. In Sagira’s time and place, 900 B.C. in Egypt, cats and humans had respected one another and communicated openly. The mutual respect lasted only so long after humans discovered Sagira and her abilities to burst into flames, bend minds, see the future, become invisible and move at incredible speed. Obsessed with Sagira, the Egyptians began to worship her and all cats; but she denied their affections and kept to herself. The worship of cats soon turned to hate and fear, which led to massive feline slaughter by humans. Cats slowly learned to live peacefully with humans by pretending to act as house pets. Before Sagira died, she left behind a book of prophecies as well as five kittens, each possessing one of Sagira’s powers—that is, until Duncan. After being adopted by a young human couple and forced to live with a hostile, older cat named Whiski, Duncan discovers that he has inherited all five of Sagira’s powers. In an effort to learn how to control his powers and keep his new family safe, Duncan and Whiski set out to find help. But will the mysterious feral cats that protect Sagira’s book help Duncan find the answers before the hateful purebreds kill him? The story is incredibly imaginative and quirky. Employing real-life references, Holley gives the illusion that this story isn’t as outlandish as it seems. She has inspired explanations for why black cats are known as bad luck, and she playfully hints at the hidden intelligence of house cats. The pop-culture references—kittens watch Star Trek—are both comical and bizarre. She even manages to include a cult of nasty purebred cats that act as a hate group. Unabashedly goofy, the well-written, action-packed story doesn’t end here; it’s only the first of a three part series.

Cat and magic fans, unite!

Pub Date: May 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477475232

Page Count: 280

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

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THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 1

In a rousing first novel, already an award-winner in England, Harry is just a baby when his magical parents are done in by Voldemort, a wizard so dastardly other wizards are scared to mention his name.

So Harry is brought up by his mean Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley, and picked on by his horrid cousin Dudley. He knows nothing about his magical birthright until ten years later, when he learns he’s to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts is a lot like English boarding school, except that instead of classes in math and grammar, the curriculum features courses in Transfiguration, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry becomes the star player of Quidditch, a sort of mid-air ball game. With the help of his new friends Ron and Hermione, Harry solves a mystery involving a sorcerer’s stone that ultimately takes him to the evil Voldemort. This hugely enjoyable fantasy is filled with imaginative details, from oddly flavored jelly beans to dragons’ eggs hatched on the hearth.

It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-590-35340-3

Page Count: 309

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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