ONE BEASTLY BEAST

TWO ALIENS, THREE INVENTORS, FOUR FANTASTIC TALES

These four lighthearted fantasy and science-fiction tales feature heroic children in extremely silly adventures. In “Blackbread the Pirate,” Peter needs to rescue his rented DVDs from video pirates. Straightforward enough—but the video pirates are cutlass-wielding rats aboard the pirate ship Nasty Cupboard, and Peter defeats them with the help of a valiant rat navy and a massive wheel of stinky cheese. Princess Rinda, of “The Princess and the Beastly Beast,” goes looking for adventure and finds it in the form of a clockwork monster. “Bill the Inventor” is an orphan boy who was found wrapped in a big banana skin and who deftly avoids getting adopted by all the wrong sorts of parents, the kind who aren’t inventors: pirates, a witch and a wizard, space aliens. And brilliant Serena of “Serena and the Sea Serpent” turns into a “penguinmaid” in her quest to rescue the people of Blubber Point from a sea serpent. Thoroughly ridiculous and hugely enjoyable. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-084319-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE MYSTERIOUS WOODS OF WHISTLE ROOT

A strange, whimsical debut that may never quite convince readers why they should care about it.

Carly Bean Bitters is a likable 11-year-old with a strange malady: She is awake at night and sleeps during the day. This allows her to notice a strange phenomenon—a squash that appears on her roof. Carly soon meets Lewis, a musician and a rat, who explains that the squash is a member of his band, taking the place of a rat who has been abducted by owls. When Lewis introduces Carly to the other members of his rat community in the Whistle Root woods, she learns that the owls’ current behavior is abnormal—they used to dance to the rats’ moonlight tunes before they suddenly began snatching them. Thus begins a bizarre journey for Carly, who must discover the reason behind the owls’ sudden change of heart and other strange occurrences in the woods and her town. Though the back story behind the Whistle Root wood and various characters’ behavior is eventually explained, the explanations themselves are often disjointed and don’t quite add up. This feeling of arbitrariness makes it hard for readers to engage with the rats’ plight. While this quiet book achieves a timeless feel—being identifiably set neither in our world nor in another—this cannot atone for a history of the magical woods and creatures that sometimes feels nonsensical. (Fantasy. 8-10)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-79263-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For Where’s Waldo? graduates who are ready for heavy-duty irony.

SUPER HAPPY MAGIC FOREST

From the Super Happy Magic Forest series

In the full-color world of Super Happy Magic Forest, everyone recognizes what evil looks like…or do they?

This over-the-top happy place with fun, dancing, and picnics every day maintains its positive energy because of three Mystical Crystals of Life. After a two-sentence exposition, readers learn that someone has stolen the crystals, throwing all the forest inhabitants into panic. The five bravest warriors, including the reluctant Blossom, a unicorn, and Trevor, a red-and-white mushroom, go in search of the culprit, only to find in the end that their arduous journey has been for naught. In this debut picture book, Long fills nearly every page with details that will keep young readers engaged and interested: a penguin distraught over losing the frying pan it evidently uses as a cudgel, a gravestone bearing the name of one of the warriors, a headless skeleton preparing to decapitate the clueless Blossom. Some pages will remind readers of the Smurfs’ village—another superhappy place—while others seem to take a page from video game journeys, with many twists and turns. In the end, though, this book that exudes youthfulness and joy delivers quite a cynical message: sometimes those in whom we’ve placed the most trust can betray us. And when they do, they should expect a comeuppance sans mercy.

For Where’s Waldo? graduates who are ready for heavy-duty irony. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-86059-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more