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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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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