Next book



From the Nell of Gumbling series , Vol. 1

A feel-good tale of friendship, community, and unexpected joy.

Things do not go as planned for young Nell.

In the magical world of Gumbling lives bespectacled 12-year-old Nell Starkeeper, her two younger siblings, and her star-farming parents, Dad and Pa. More than anything, aspiring artist Nell wants to be assigned as an apprentice to famous painter Wiz Bravo. However, when the apprenticeships are announced by teacher Ms. Garlic, she learns she’s been placed with formidable, dour Mrs. Birdneck, the Town Lorekeeper. Nell is averse to both Mrs. Birdneck and the lorekeeping archives, which are housed in a cold, dark dungeon. Her two best friends, Gilligan Bugg, a Thumbkin, and Myra Didwell, who is half fairy, got their preferred apprenticeships, something that brings Nell down further. When a wily duo of human developers arrives from New York City, claiming to be long-lost relatives of a past ruler and planning to transform quaint Gumbling into a bustling resort, Nell and her friends use their newfound apprentice skills and the power of friendship to try to save their beloved kingdom. Steinkellner’s vibrant and fun series opener is a delight that captures the ups and downs of tweendom with whimsy and panache. Through her missteps, Nell’s journey to finding her own happiness is wholly engaging. The charming art supports the cleverly wrought worldbuilding, including details readers will pore over and alternating between pages of text with illustrations and traditional comic panels. Most characters present white; Myra reads Black.

A feel-good tale of friendship, community, and unexpected joy. (additional comics) (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780593570661

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Labyrinth Road

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

Next book


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Next book


A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem.

A middle schooler struggles to adjust after moving to an idyllic Massachusetts town.

Trish Das is at a crossroads. Not only is the 12-year-old unhappy that her family has moved yet again due to her mother’s cardiology career, she also has to try out for a new baseball team. The fact that one of her new teammates is a former archrival further complicates matters. Math prodigy Ben Messina went head-to-head against fellow math whiz Trish at last spring’s Math Puzzlers Championship. When Trish emerged victorious, Ben was stunned. The two get closer when the team’s mysterious pregame snacks start making everyone play better while also causing magical side effects during games. Equally surprising are the cryptic puzzle booklets Trish and Ben receive in the mail that lead them to even more wins. But as the puzzles get harder to solve, the risk of failing to do so increases. Alternating between Trish’s and Ben’s perspectives, LaRocca’s novel—a companion to 2019’s Midsummer’s Mayhem—is a Much Ado About Nothing homage that explores parental expectations, complicated friendships, and teamwork. The protagonists’ love of problem-solving shines through, and the puzzles themselves are clearly explained. As a third-generation Indian American, Trish also has moving conversations about the circumstances that led her grandparents to emigrate and how those decisions still impact their lives. Ben is implied White. Final illustrations not seen.

A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1101-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Close Quickview