Young fantasy fans will likely enjoy this richly imagined tale and will eagerly await its next installment.

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FIONA THORN AND THE CARAPACEM SPELL

Barton’s explosive middle-grade fantasy debut tells about an orphan’s quest to save her magical best friend.

This epic fantasy, the first in a planned series, opens with the young Fiona asking a magical pond called Moonshadow how she can save her imprisoned best friend, a fairy named Jaydin. The pond responds that Fiona must offer her own life for Jaydin’s: “Pay in kind or the winds will still.” Jaydin has been accused of casting a Carpacem spell upon the king’s son, rendering the young boy nearly catatonic, yet totally awake. It’s the worst spell a magic user can inflict on someone, and the king doesn’t take it lightly—he imprisons Jaydin and threatens to execute him. With time running out, Fiona travels to the castle on her trusty talking horse, Manzy, and on the way picks up three princesses: Rhiannon, the bossy oldest; Isabel, the whiny middle child; and adorable Cricket, the youngest, who has a way of growling at her enemies and finding trouble. Manzy convinces the princesses to help save Jaydin by talking to their father, the king. As the adventure progresses, the group travels through dank tunnels beneath the castle, is locked in a dungeon and escapes into dangerous woods. Fiona’s penchant for explosives and magical spells adds to the fun. Teenage readers will no doubt relate to fiery Fiona and her need to stand up for what’s right, assert her independence and be true to her friends. Barton’s prose is clear and easy to read; it paints a fantastical, well-drawn picture of her fictional world, yet offers realistic, relatable characters throughout.

Young fantasy fans will likely enjoy this richly imagined tale and will eagerly await its next installment.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615696959

Page Count: 206

Publisher: Flickerfawn

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2013

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CINDERELLA

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 LORAX

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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