A tale to sweep new and confirmed fans into the author’s distinctively imagined blend of history, magic, mythology,...

BLUECROWNE

A GREENGLASS HOUSE STORY

In this prequel to Milford’s Nagspeake tales, a privateer’s daughter takes on a ruthless time traveler who kidnaps her little brother.

Having been raised at sea aboard the Left-Handed Fate, 12-year-old Lucy is feeling marooned in the house her father, Capt. Bluecrowne, has built above the otherworldly town of Nagspeake for her, her half brother, Liao, and her beloved stepmother, Xiaoming. But hardly have the three moved in than Liao—already displaying a prodigious talent for constructing bombs and magical fireworks—is spirited away by Foulk Trigemine, a cold-eyed “roamer” sent to gather the boy up as a “conflagrationeer” for a man reputed to own some of Hell’s own coal. Foolishly, rather than use his kairos mechanism to return whence he came, Trigemine lingers in the town and era, scheming to snatch up other treasures. Unfortunately (for him), not only is Lucy willing to, literally, walk through fire to rescue her brother, but the lad’s vengeful mother turns out to be much more than she appears. Milford tucks strange places, odd artifacts, and people with mysterious pasts into a suspenseful tale properly supplied with sinister villains, clever twists, large explosions, and heartbreaking sacrifices. Along with the interracial family at the story’s center (Lucy and her father are white, while Liao and his mother are Chinese), black and Asian supporting characters add notes of diversity to the cast. Finished illustrations not seen.

A tale to sweep new and confirmed fans into the author’s distinctively imagined blend of history, magic, mythology, chemistry, and nautical lore. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-46688-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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This weave of perceptive, well-told tales wears its agenda with unusual grace.

WAR STORIES

Two young people of different generations get profound lessons in the tragic, enduring legacy of war.

Raised on the thrilling yarns of his great-grandpa Jacob and obsessed with both World War II and first-person–shooter video games, Trevor is eager to join the 93-year-old vet when he is invited to revisit the French town his unit had helped to liberate. In alternating chapters, the overseas trip retraces the parallel journeys of two young people—Trevor, 12, and Jacob, in 1944, just five years older—with similarly idealized visions of what war is like as they travel both then and now from Fort Benning to Omaha Beach and then through Normandy. Jacob’s wartime experiences are an absorbing whirl of hard fighting, sudden death, and courageous acts spurred by necessity…but the modern trip turns suspenseful too, as mysterious stalkers leave unsettling tokens and a series of hostile online posts that hint that Jacob doesn’t have just German blood on his hands. Korman acknowledges the widely held view of World War II as a just war but makes his own sympathies plain by repeatedly pointing to the unavoidable price of conflict: “Wars may have winning sides, but everybody loses.” Readers anticipating a heavy-handed moral will appreciate that Trevor arrives at a refreshingly realistic appreciation of video games’ pleasures and limitations. As his dad puts it: “War makes a better video game….But if you’re looking for a way to live, I’ll take peace every time.”

This weave of perceptive, well-told tales wears its agenda with unusual grace. (Fiction/historical fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-29020-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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