THE MUMMY, THE WILL, AND THE CRYPT

In vital respects, very like The Curse of the Blue Figurine (p. J-112), last season's spooky debut of young Johnny Dixon and his eccentric old neighbor Professor Childermass; but a letdown only on that score. The new old mystery the Professor lays before Johnny concerns the missing will of H. Blagwell Glomus, cereal tycoon and demonology adept—who may have left three odd objects as a clue, or may have left the objects merely to annoy his relatives. Johnny hasn't time to puzzle it out before he finds his grandmother acting strange, the victim of a brain tumor, and his own worries mount: his mother is dead, his father is a pilot in Korea, and now? To distract him, the Professor arranges a week's stay in the White Mountains with the Boy Scouts; next to the camp, unsuspected, is the derelict Glomus estate; calling to tell the Professor, Johnny is eyed darkly by a young man and hotel-keeper Mrs. Woodley; and when he and Fergie, a fellow odd-fact collector and a welcome friend, sneak out to the estate at night, the young man is waiting for them—with a gun. Faced down, he tells them he's Chad Glomus, grandson of "good old H. Blagwell"; warns of a malevolent Guardian at loose; and, with "long, loud, hideous yells and shrieks," vanishes. A crazy joke? Or for real? Home again, Johnny learns that his father is missing in Korea—and panics: if his grandmother dies, his grandfather will die too, and he'll be all alone. But the $10,000 reward for finding the will would pay for the best brain surgeon; so, aware that he's not rational, he heads back alone to New Hampshire, and into the clutches of Mrs. Woodley, old man Glomus' sister and now the Guardian's keeper. . . where, in a fiery finale, the Professor and Fergie find him, and the will is destroyed. Then, tucking in the personal loose ends, Bellairs has Johnny get the reward anyhow—and has his father appear unheralded at the door. The usual taut narrative, intriguing puzzle, interesting types—but risky in that Johnny's psyche comes to seem part of the pattern.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1983

ISBN: 1617563285

Page Count: 126

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1983

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

MAYBE

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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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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