From the Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 3

A fast, vibrant adventure.

Ruskin unwillingly enters a contest in the third dragon-centric graphic-novel spinoff of The Kingdom of Wrenly series.

Every 50 years a Red Moon rises, and that’s when a magic fire selects which Crestwood dragons get to compete in the Night Hunt, which they do in teams of two. Villinelle and the sinister figure scheming in the shadows see this as a chance to turn Ruskin and Cinder against each other, so Villinelle tampers with the ritual. This is how the ineligible Ruskin (he’s not a lifelong Crestwood dragon) comes to be teamed with the roguish Roke. Cinder, who wanted a chance to shine as brave and heroic, feels betrayed by Ruskin and is determined to win. Each team is given a different scavenger-hunt list, and the race is on! The obstacles the pairs face require teamwork and cleverness, which generates both action and amusement. But the tampering goes deeper than just who participates in the Night Hunt: Near the end of the contest, a secondary ploy unleashes a danger to all of the Crestwood dragons that only the Night Hunt participants can stop. Rounded, large-eyed draconic characters have distinctive silhouettes and colors that help distinguish them in the twilight nighttime settings. While the story arc centers on Ruskin and Cinder’s friendship, secondary characters Groth and Roke also shine. The triumphant ending also teases a new goal for the villains; a closing sneak preview of the next book also tantalizes.

A fast, vibrant adventure. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7864-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014


An effort as insubstantial as any spirit.

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 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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