A fine second installment that further embellishes a dazzling world.

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DARK & DAY 2

THE WITHERING MARK

Grey’s sequel to the YA fantasy Dark & Day (2013) finds heroic Jonothon “Jono” Wyer on the trail of a terrorist group.

Nearly two years ago, the world’s Dark End (a region ruled by futuristic technology) went to war with the Day End (ruled by magic), and a boy named Jason Wheat has since risen to fame as the person who stopped the catastrophe. Thirteen-year-old Jono, however, knows that Jason is only providing a cover story for Jono’s heroism; while Jason is a celebrity, Jono leads a quiet life at Windom Academy. However, during a field trip to the Starview “historeum,” a disastrous explosion injures Jono’s friend Keiko—proving that he isn’t so safe after all. Jono soon learns that Eljin Tombs, the leader of a terrorist group that wants Dark and Day to go to war, has escaped prison. This jeopardizes plans for a World’s Faire, where the two ends of the world can celebrate both cultures. Thankfully, Jono is no longer a frail boy with a heart condition—he’s a capable spy, outfitted with mechanical upgrades and loyal friends. But before thwarting Tombs, he must get past the academy’s resident bully and scaremonger, Nicklus Knox. Author Grey starts the second chapter of his epic fantasy series eerily, and with a bang, and he’s quick to remind readers that the peace between Dark and Day is tenuous. In the Day End, for example, a poster asks “Are you INFECTED with a machine? Mechs can be smaller than pixie dust! Get checked regularly!” Grey’s world can be quite beautiful as well, especially Eies, the Dark End capital, with its “thick layer of greenhouse clouds...[making] the massive buildings look like islands in a glowing white sea.” Like the previous volume, this one has buoyant illustrations by Andrew Hou, Tyler Edlin and Robert Kim. Its sturdy, satisfying morals have returned as well, as when Commander Grail says, “There are times when people need to believe in untouchable things.” In the end, Grey leaves his characters older, wiser and ready for the next challenge.

A fine second installment that further embellishes a dazzling world.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0984926305

Page Count: 404

Publisher: Jacob Israel Grey

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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