A strong series opener for sensitive readers.

READ REVIEW

MAGGIE AND THE FLYING HORSE

From the Magic Animal Rescue series , Vol. 1

A lonely, misunderstood girl who pays enough attention to notice magical creatures must help a tiny, winged horse.

While Maggie’s father chops wood across the forest, she’s left with her wicked stepmother, Zelia, and stepsiblings, including awful Peter. Her steps, new to the Enchanted Forest, don’t believe Maggie when she tells them about the magical creatures and accuse her of lying to cover up laziness. Zelia threatens to give Maggie’s bed to Peter unless Maggie stops with the stories and sticks to chores, then sends Maggie to help Peter tend his sheep. But Maggie falls asleep on the job, and Peter ditches her, leaving her to awaken to goblins! When a tiny flying horse tickles her while she’s hiding, Maggie brushes it away—but accidentally damages its delicate wing. Maggie takes it to Bob the Stableman, a person her grandmother had told her helped magical creatures, but only after cleverly evading a dangerous troll. Bob’s a kindred soul and supportive adult—a good thing since Maggie’s decision to do right by the horse instead of doing chores gives Zelia an excuse to make good on threats. Kids will relate to the injustice and to not feeling heard. The simultaneously publishing sequel, Maggie and the Wish Fish, continues the familial storyline through an encounter with an allegedly wish-granting fish rather than resetting to status quo. All illustrated human characters appear to be white.

A strong series opener for sensitive readers. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-312-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them.

THE MADRE DE AGUAS OF CUBA

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 5

The Unicorn Rescue Society investigates the disappearance of a Cuban sea serpent.

In the fifth series installment, returning protagonists Uchenna and Elliot are in school, learning about water, when Professor Fauna calls them away. As the kids board the professor’s rickety single-propeller plane, they learn where exactly they are heading: Cuba. The island is in the middle of a massive drought, and Professor Fauna has reason to believe that the Madres de aguas (the Mother of Waters) has gone missing. It’s up to the society to find the sea serpent before any more damage is done to the people and wildlife of Cuba. As they set out on their mission of derring-do, they realize that once again they are up against their nemeses, the Schmoke Brothers. Via Yoenis, their Cuban American society liaison, Uchenna, Elliot, and readers learn about the political and economic hardships experienced by the people of Cuba, the island’s lack of basic goods and necessities, and Cuba’s need for real democracy (although the current role of the military is elided). This is conveyed within a quick, fast-paced read that’s ideal for kids who want a straightforward magical adventure. Uchenna is Nigerian, Elliot is white and Jewish, and Professor Fauna is Peruvian.

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3142-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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