Irresistible storytelling and a meticulous plot conjure pure New England magic.


Retsbol Rises


Jones’ debut YA novel sees young adventurers attempt to retrieve a series of Native American amulets and save Maine’s Mount Desert Island.

Abenaki lore states that the tribe once shared Mount Desert Island, Maine, with gigantic lobsters. When the two groups began crowding each other, the lobsters agreed to leave for the ocean. The Abenaki promised to continue properly caring for the land. Both tribes sealed the agreement by creating an orb, which they secured in the base of Cadillac Mountain. Now, greedy industrialist Barton Baxter has learned about the orb from an ancient Abenaki parchment. By stealing it, he sets disastrous events in motion that threaten everyone on Mount Desert Island. Marine biologist Dr. Banke is summoned from Boston to discover why lobsters are congregating at the island—growing larger and more ferocious in the process. Meanwhile, forces have placed another Abenaki book, once belonging to Baxter’s childhood friend Amelia, in the hands of Ani, Banke’s teenage daughter. Ani and her sister, Eliza, must race to locate amulets that Amelia once wore and restore the covenant between the Abenaki and the lobsters—before the crustaceans retake the island. Jones uses clear, clever prose to narrate Ani and Eliza’s quest: “Unbeknownst to most humans, squirrels run subterfuge on a regular basis [keeping] Homo sapiens from seeing what really happens in the animal kingdom.” There’s also a reverence for nature throughout, emphasized by Ani’s communication with animals. But these plot points only hint at Jones’ always rollicking imagination and penchant for twists, as when Eliza thinks she sees Spider-Man. While primarily for younger readers, the novel also includes adult subtlety: Barton thinks of long-lost Amelia and doesn’t “want his mind to go where it always took him, but lately he had been too tired and too weak to stop both his memory and his what-ifs.”

Irresistible storytelling and a meticulous plot conjure pure New England magic.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1938883651

Page Count: 477

Publisher: Maine Authors Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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