The first entry in an entertaining new girl detective series; here’s hoping future volumes will develop both...

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THE MYSTERY OF THE CLOCKWORK SPARROW

From the Sinclair's Mysteries series

An Edwardian shopgirl, accused of a theft she didn't commit, solves the dastardly deed with the help of her new friends.

Sophie's been orphaned since her father died with a mysterious lack of a will, but she's determined to exhibit a stiff upper lip. She takes a job in London's first department store, and though she's proud of her position, she's beastly lonely. Her co-workers are textbook mean girls, but Sophie soon makes unusual friends: Billy, the scruffy mystery-lover; Lil, the cheerful store model and aspiring actress; and Joe, the wounded boy who’s escaped a life working for the crime lord known as the Baron. These white, likable, far too thinly drawn teens begin as mere friends, but when the jeweled Clockwork Sparrow is stolen and Sophie is fired over suspicion for the crime, they band together to solve it themselves. The Baron's involvement terrifies Joe—he'd never have gotten involved with the mystery crime lord if it weren't for the fact that, with a Russian grandad, he's not "a proper British lad" and has no other opportunities—but they have to help Sophie. The puzzles comprising the mystery are of varying quality: one is completely solvable by readers, while another is solved without giving readers their own chance. Sequel The Mystery of the Jeweled Moth publishes simultaneously.

The first entry in an entertaining new girl detective series; here’s hoping future volumes will develop both characterization and puzzles . (Mystery. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPre's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of...

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998) brings back the doughty young wizard-in-training to face suspicious adults, hostile classmates, fretful ghosts, rambunctious spells, giant spiders, and even an avatar of Lord Voldemort, the evil sorcerer who killed his parents, while saving the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from a deadly, mysterious menace.

Ignoring a most peculiar warning, Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a dreadful summer with his hateful guardians, the Dursleys, and is instantly cast into a whirlwind of magical pranks and misadventures, culminating in a visit to the hidden cavern where his friend Ron's little sister Ginny lies, barely alive, in a trap set by his worst enemy. Surrounded by a grand mix of wise and inept faculty, sneering or loyal peers—plus an array of supernatural creatures including Nearly Headless Nick and a huge, serpentine basilisk—Harry steadily rises to every challenge, and though he plays but one match of the gloriously chaotic field game Quidditch, he does get in plenty of magic and a bit of swordplay on his way to becoming a hero again.

Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPre's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of broad boarding school farce and high fantasy. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 2, 1999

ISBN: 0-439-06486-4

Page Count: 341

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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