FAIRY HAVEN AND THE QUEST FOR THE WAND

This sequel to Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg (2005) returns readers to the magical world of Fairy Haven in Never Land where wise Mother Dove stills sits on her egg to ensure the production of fairy dust and endless youth. But all is not well. The fairy Rani has failed to deliver a magic wand she promised the mermaid Soop, who threatens to flood Fairy Haven until Rani produces the wand. As flood waters rise, Mother Dove reluctantly dispatches Rani, Ree and Tink to Queen Tutupia of the Great Wanded fairies for a wand and worries “a wand could bring out the worst in anyone, even a Never fairy.” Tutupia warns the questing fairies that the wand will obey commands, but not reverse them. As Rani, Ree and Tink transport the wand to Soop, they are consumed with wand madness. Motivated by greed, jealousy and selfishness, their irreversible commands create chaos that could be disastrous unless they learn how to tame the troublesome wand. Faerie-filled illustrations highlight the diminutive drama and prove the perfect foil for the further adventures of these fantastical Never Land characters. (Fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 31, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4231-0100-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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ZATHURA

A trite, knock-off sequel to Jumanji (1981). The “Jumanji” box distracts Walter Budwing away from beating up on his little brother Danny, but it’s Danny who discovers the Zathura board inside—and in no time, Earth is far behind, a meteor has smashed through the roof, and a reptilian Zyborg pirate is crawling through the hole. Each throw of the dice brings an ominous new development, portrayed in grainy, penciled freeze frames featuring sculptured-looking figures in constricted, almost claustrophobic settings. The angles of view are, as always, wonderfully dramatic, but not only is much of the finer detail that contributed to Jumanji’s astonishing realism missing, the spectacular damage being done to the Budwings’ house as the game progresses is, by and large, only glimpsed around the picture edges. Naturally, having had his bacon repeatedly saved by his younger sibling’s quick thinking, once Walter falls through a black hole to a time preceding the game’s start, his attitude toward Danny undergoes a sudden, radical transformation. Van Allsburg’s imagination usually soars right along with his accomplished art—but here, both are just running in place. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-25396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action.

THE SILVER ARROW

The best birthday present is a magical train full of talking animals—and a new job.

On Kate’s 11th birthday, she’s surprised by the arrival of rich Uncle Herbert. Uncle Herbert bears a gift: a train. Not a toy train, a 102.36-ton steam engine, with cars that come later. When Kate and her brother, Tom, both white, play in the cab of the Silver Arrow, the train starts up, zooming to a platform packed with animals holding tickets. Thus begins Kate and Tom’s hard work: They learn to conduct the train and feed the fire box, instructed by the Silver Arrow, which speaks via printed paper tape. The Silver Arrow is a glorious playground: The library car is chockablock with books while the candy car is brimful of gobstoppers and gummy bears. But amid the excitement of whistle-blowing and train conducting, Kate and Tom learn quiet messages from their animal friends. Some species, like gray squirrels and starlings, are “invaders.” The too-thin polar bear’s train platform has melted, leaving it almost drowned. Their new calling is more than just feeding the coal box—they need to find a new balance in a damaged world. “Feeling guilty doesn’t help anything,” the mamba tells them. Humans have survived so effectively they’ve taken over the world; now, he says, “you just have to take care of it.” (Illustrations not seen.)

Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53953-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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