Parents looking for stories that reinforce religious teachings may find much to like, but others may not be captivated by...



Two children learn about themselves and the worlds around them—both visible and invisible—while on an adventure in the magical Land of Nede.

When 12-year-old Billy moves in to Lovett Manor after his mother goes missing and a fire burns down the building in which he was hiding, he meets Sarah, the niece of Mrs. Lovett. The pair searches for a lock that matches the key that Billy has carried with him for years and finds an agreeable padlock on the tree house in the backyard. Upon entering the tree house, they fall through its rotting floorboards of the tree house and end up not on the ground below but in another layer of reality. They have stumbled upon the invisible Land of Nede. Here they meet Trick, who teaches them what to fear—namely Prince Goth and his minions. They also encounter the royal family, who teach them about the power within themselves and how they can fight evil creatures to make their own reality more like Nede, where everyone lives within the same parameters of wealth, eats for pleasure rather than out of need, and time is no barrier. Billy, as a chosen one, is especially important in the war between the people of Nede and Prince Goth. Once they return to their families, Billy and Sarah strive to keep the lessons of Nede in their hearts and minds as they deal with people already infiltrated by Prince Goth’s army. Ewinger’s writing is clear and concise, though she often resorts to clichés in her descriptions. Also, much of the dialogue consists of long explanations that may not succeed in maintaining the interest of young readers who might suspect they are being exposed to valuable lessons. Children usually learn best when new knowledge is better shrouded in authentic characters and more intricate adventure.

Parents looking for stories that reinforce religious teachings may find much to like, but others may not be captivated by the tepid prose.

Pub Date: March 30, 2010

ISBN: 978-1935529699

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Interlink

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2010

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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


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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