A strong series opener for sensitive readers.

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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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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