Not revelatory YA, yet an engrossing, easy read that should appeal to young readers ready for a fantasy adventure.

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Chloes Enchanted Attic

In his debut YA book, Yeaman creates an action-packed adventure focused on a young girl named Chloe who’s unexpectedly summoned to save the world from the reign of an evil maharajah with magical powers.

Chloe is just a normal 9-year-old girl, coping with the recent tragedy of losing both of her parents to unexpected and unexplained causes. Her aunt and uncle take her to live with her grandmother Jen in the secluded woods of California, where she learns of enchanted animals and animate objects living in the attic. She makes the acquaintance of Mr. Oppum, a friendly opossum with a perfect British accent who explains that her grandfather, during his travels in India, acquired a magical purple jewel that grants household objects and animal friends the power of human consciousness and speech. Much to the dismay of Mr. Oppum, Chloe and some animate objects, part of the jewel is in the possession of the evil maharajah Rasheem, who’s abusing its powers to rule the world. In the company of Mr. Oppum, a mouse named Monty and a magic flying carpet appropriately called Mr. Carpet, Chloe travels across the globe to take the jewel from Rasheem and give power back to the people of Earth. On the way, she collects two orphan companions, Onri and Ayla, who want to kill the maharajah. This action-packed adventure starts off slow, with lengthy, uninteresting stretches describing Chloe having meals with her grandmother, sleeping and being upset about her dead parents. However, once the action kicks off, the story transforms into a fairly engrossing read with a violent climax and utopian moral. Dialogue can be repetitive and predictable, though the story’s strength lies in its well-laid adventure, which sticks close to the structure of a hero’s journey. Yeaman’s first novel doesn’t have much diversity in word choice and sentence structure, but it’s nonetheless a fine attempt at encapsulating the classic YA trope of saving the world, with some spirituality and environmentalism thrown in for much appreciated intellectual fodder.

Not revelatory YA, yet an engrossing, easy read that should appeal to young readers ready for a fantasy adventure.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615904290

Page Count: 202

Publisher: jerry yeaman

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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