THE SECRET CAT

A satisfying story by a talented artist.

A girl discovers a world of secret pets that exists only at night in this Swedish import.

When her mom says she can’t have a pet—a “real” pet, with fur—narrator Lucy goes to bed disappointed. But that night, she hears scratching in the wall by her bed. A purring voice tells her to guess its name and it will come to her. She whispers, “Silvring,” and a cat, who is outlined in white but otherwise invisible, crawls out onto Lucy’s bed. Silvring knows just what she needs and wants to do. They go outside and climb a tree and see other people out walking their own secret pets, all of which are unusual and dreamlike: fish in the air, a polar bear, and then a huge, dangerous, pink-and-red, flying creature walked by a robed figure in a beaked plague mask. Luckily, Silvring grows big too, and she protects Lucy. They return home tired, and Silvring is gone come morning, “Because during the day, the secret animals sleep inside the walls, hidden behind the wallpaper.” The watercolor-and-ink illustrations are skillfully rendered in deep blue and pink tones that effectively carry readers into Lucy’s nighttime fantasy, Silvring often just a suggestion of blue daubs on lighter blue. The story’s intense emotions of longing are impressively real. Lucy and her mother both present black; Lucy wears her hair in afro puffs.

A satisfying story by a talented artist. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5511-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

THE LOST STONE

From the The Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 1

A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests.

A lonely prince gains a friend for a quest to find a missing jewel.

Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could possibly want—except a friend. His father has forbidden him to play with the village children for reasons of propriety. Adventure-seeking Lucas acquires peasant clothes to masquerade as a commoner and make friends, but he is caught out. His mother, the queen, persuades the king to allow him one friend: Clara, the daughter of her personal dressmaker. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, Lucas and Clara set off to find it. They follow the jewel as it changes hands, interviewing each temporary owner. Their adventure cleverly introduces the series’ world and peoples, taking the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard island of Hobsgrove and finally Mermaid’s Cove. By befriending the mermaids, Lucas and Clara finally recover the jewel. In thanks, the king gives Clara a horse of her own so that she may ride with Lucas on their future adventures. The third-person narration is generally unobtrusive, allowing the characters to take center stage. The charming, medieval-flavored illustrations set the fairy-tale scene and take up enough page space that new and reluctant readers won’t be overwhelmed by text.

 A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9691-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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