A cheery fantasy about making new friends, exploring new places, and learning to get along with your sister.

THE WISHING WINGS

From the Butterfly Wishes series , Vol. 1

The first, utterly adorable book in a new chapter-book series.

Addie Gibson, a white girl in Bishop’s illustrations, is bored and lonely in her new home. During an exploration of the forest behind her house, Addie meets a colorful butterfly named Sky Dance; however, Sky Dance isn’t an everyday, nonmagical butterfly—she’s a Wishing Wing, and the entrance to her home, Wishing Wing Grove, is on the other side of the woods. Sky Dance and the Wishing Wings need Addie’s help. Someone has placed a dark enchantment on New Blooms—Wishing Wings who have just emerged from their chrysalides. The effects of the enchantment are unclear, except that it seems to cause New Blooms to forget both who they are and their mission: to spread the lightness of mind that is intrinsic to the butterfly spirit. New Blooms must grant a wish by sunset on their first day out of the chrysalis, or they lose their magic forever. Sky Dance’s newly emerged sister, Shimmer Leaf, is one of the cursed and suffers from this mysterious butterfly amnesia. The solution is easy: Addie’s little sister, Clara, could use some cheering up; perhaps human girl and butterfly can help each other help their sisters. The story concludes with the promise of more adventure. Life lessons hover dangerously between subtle and pedantic, but they lean slightly closer toward less is more.

A cheery fantasy about making new friends, exploring new places, and learning to get along with your sister. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-491-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An effort as insubstantial as any spirit.

THE MYSTERIOUS MESSENGER

Eleven-year-old Maria Russo helps her charlatan mother hoodwink customers, but Maria has a spirited secret.

Maria’s mother, the psychic Madame Destine, cons widows out of their valuables with the assistance of their apartment building’s super, Mr. Fox. Madame Destine home-schools Maria, and because Destine is afraid of unwanted attention, she forbids Maria from talking to others. Maria is allowed to go to the library, where new librarian Ms. Madigan takes an interest in Maria that may cause her trouble. Meanwhile, Sebastian, Maria’s new upstairs neighbor, would like to be friends. All this interaction makes it hard for Maria to keep her secret: that she is visited by Edward, a spirit who tells her the actual secrets of Madame Destine’s clients via spirit writing. When Edward urges Maria to help Mrs. Fisher, Madame Destine’s most recent mark, Maria must overcome her shyness and her fear of her mother—helping Mrs. Fisher may be the key to the mysterious past Maria uncovers and a brighter future. Alas, picture-book–creator Ford’s middle-grade debut is a muddled, melodramatic mystery with something of an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feel: In addition to the premise, there’s a tragically dead father, a mysterious family tree, and the Beat poets. Sluggish pacing; stilted, unrealistic dialogue; cartoonishly stock characters; and unattractive, flat illustrations make this one to miss. Maria and Sebastian are both depicted with brown skin, hers lighter than his; the other principals appear to be white.

An effort as insubstantial as any spirit. (author’s note) (Paranormal mystery. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20567-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more