An imaginative, magical story ideal for kids experiencing loss.

READ REVIEW

THE LAND OF NEVERENDINGS

A grieving girl finds herself slipping into an imaginary world.

Since the death of her older, severely disabled sister, Holly, Emily dwells on stories she created for Holly about her sister’s teddy bear, Bluey, and the invented land of Smockeroon. Stressed at school, where no one knows about Holly, and lonely because her best friend has abandoned her, Emily spends time with her neighbor Ruth, a comforting ally who shares the imaginary world she once created for her son before his death, which he called the Land of Neverendings. After Emily experiences escalating visitations from talking toys from Smockeroon who know Bluey, she discovers Ruth’s having similar bizarre encounters. Apparently, the door linking Smockeroon to the real world’s broken, allowing rogue toys to escape. Emily longs to go to Smockeroon to find Bluey—and Holly—but knows she and Ruth must somehow close the breach. Casting Emily as Alice in her class production of Alice in Wonderland, Saunders allows Emily to draw parallels between herself and legendary Alice. References to Winnie-the-Pooh, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and At the Back of the North Wind aptly invoke other imaginary worlds. Even though the surreal cast of meddling toys adds some levity and blurs the line between fantasy and reality, Emily’s grief feels real indeed. Her little English village seems to be a largely white one.

An imaginative, magical story ideal for kids experiencing loss. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-49789-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more