A fine second installment that further embellishes a dazzling world.

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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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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