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Whimsical and imaginative.

In this tale translated from Spanish, a young girl’s decision to mend holes leading to a mysterious world has unintended consequences.

Leilah is always losing her belongings—her scarf, her umbrella, her keys (three times!). Mama chides Leilah for not being more careful, but Leilah can explain. Existing alongside Leilah’s beautiful, orderly village is another, chaotic world called the Other Side. It’s an enigmatic place accessible only through dreams, with “landscapes full of knots” and bizarre creatures. Things disappear through holes to the Other Side, Leilah tells Mama, and if she could only mend them, nothing would ever disappear again. Although sewing up the holes prevents objects from falling through, Leilah also inadvertently creates a smokelike fog that stifles both worlds. Undoing her stitches, Leilah receives an unexpected gift and promises Mama to find another way to keep track of her possessions. Inspired by a traditional hand-embroidered shawl that she received on a visit to Palestine, Isol’s eye-catching, unique illustrations feature photographs of its patterns; the outward-facing side is the backdrop to Leilah’s village, while the reverse sets the scene for the Other Side. Earth-toned, woven fabrics in tans and greens sometimes serve as backgrounds but are also snipped into pieces onto which characters are drawn, providing contrast to the predominantly black and red scarf. Isol concludes this clever, playful tale with an epilogue vindicating Leilah. Characters have skin the color of the page.

Whimsical and imaginative. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 25, 2024

ISBN: 9781592703920

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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From the The Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 1

A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests.

A lonely prince gains a friend for a quest to find a missing jewel.

Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could possibly want—except a friend. His father has forbidden him to play with the village children for reasons of propriety. Adventure-seeking Lucas acquires peasant clothes to masquerade as a commoner and make friends, but he is caught out. His mother, the queen, persuades the king to allow him one friend: Clara, the daughter of her personal dressmaker. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, Lucas and Clara set off to find it. They follow the jewel as it changes hands, interviewing each temporary owner. Their adventure cleverly introduces the series’ world and peoples, taking the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard island of Hobsgrove and finally Mermaid’s Cove. By befriending the mermaids, Lucas and Clara finally recover the jewel. In thanks, the king gives Clara a horse of her own so that she may ride with Lucas on their future adventures. The third-person narration is generally unobtrusive, allowing the characters to take center stage. The charming, medieval-flavored illustrations set the fairy-tale scene and take up enough page space that new and reluctant readers won’t be overwhelmed by text.

 A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9691-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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