Good fantasy fun, British style


Tom Harding is a polite, innocent, blue-eyed English boy. Look again: He is also a demisprite (half fairy, half mortal) who must rescue his father from a 21st-century fairyland that is not “a pink, sugary kind of place.”

“Tom had a moment of unreality. This time yesterday he’d been watching television in the kitchen at home, listening to Mum and Dad chatting and laughing downstairs while they closed up the deli. Now his mother had vanished and his father was living undercover as a bat.” Lively humor and zany plot twists persuade readers to join Tom, his clumsy cousin Pindar and his three larger-than-life fairy godmothers in a lighthearted romp to the realm of Fairy and back to London. The book is peppered with allusions to figures historical, magical and literary—and contains amusing amalgams. (Who would have guessed that Coco Chanel and Joseph Stalin were both demisprites?) Occasional potty humor is balanced by understatements such as “When you’ve just been told you might be about to disintegrate, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else.” Saunders entertains readers of all ages with such escapades as a glass-coffin heist (think "Snow White" meets The Wizard of Oz). Despite oft-repeated threats, violence is always offstage or silly—as in spells that turn bad guys into dung beetles.

Good fantasy fun, British style . (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74077-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...


At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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