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

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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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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