A well-written, compelling trip to a past not often portrayed in children's literature.

FIRE IN THE STREETS

The Black Panthers seem to have the answers for Maxie and her friends, so when a traitor to the group is suspected, she is determined to find who is leaking information to the Chicago police.

Maxie and her brother Raheem are deeply involved with the Black Panther Party. The shooting of a close friend and ongoing conflicts with the Chicago police make the radical group seem like the only protection they can count on. Problems at home—their mother’s unemployment, drinking and various boyfriends—make the Panther office a refuge for Maxie, and she presses to become a real member: armed, trained and patrolling the streets like her brother. She is deemed too young, so when Maxie hears there may be a traitor in the Panthers, she decides to discover who it is and prove she is ready to take a real place in the organization. The discovery changes everything and forces Maxie to face almost unbearable truths. In this companion to award-winning A Rock and the River (2009), Magoon explores the role the Black Panthers played in urban communities during the tumultuous times of the late ’60s. Maxie is a believable and feisty character. Her interactions with her brother and his efforts to be the parent their mother seems incapable of being both ring true, as does her relationship with Sam, still grieving the death of his brother. Historical moments such as the riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention strengthen the sense of time and place, but this is primarily an authentic story of a young person attempting to grasp where she will stand in the struggle.

A well-written, compelling trip to a past not often portrayed in children's literature. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2230-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits.

THE TRAVELING RESTAURANT

JASPER'S VOYAGE IN THREE PARTS

From the Tales of Fontania series , Vol. 1

A seemingly ordinary lad boards a seagoing eatery and is swept up in a series of flights and pursuits that lead him to a higher destiny than he expects (or even wants, particularly).

Having banished all magic (even mention of the word) from the realm of Fontania, evil Lady Gall is on her way to removing the “Provisional” from her title of “Provisional Monarch.” Her attempt to poison Jasper’s beloved little sister Sibilla pitches his secretive extended family into hurried flight. Outraged and confused, Jasper is somehow left behind—but wangles a berth aboard the Traveling Restaurant, a floating diner painted like a circus wagon, and sets out to catch up. Else arranges her narrative into short chapters with titles like “This Is When It Becomes Fraught” and strews it with pirates, wild waters, sudden twists of fortune, family revelations and scrumptious tucker (Jasper finds a snatched chunk of salami “a farmyard of deliciousness in one mouthful”). She sets her quick-witted protagonist on a course that not only sharpens his already-considerable culinary skills but gives him a central role in rescuing his shipwrecked family, decisively scotching Lady Gall’s schemes and restoring magic to the land. Jasper does this with help from a supporting cast stocked with likable enemies, sometimes-unlikable allies and one particularly perspicuous toddler.

A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-8775-7903-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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THE TIME-TRAVELING FASHIONISTA AT THE PALACE OF MARIE ANTOINETTE

From the Time-Traveling Fashionista series , Vol. 2

Middle school girls obsessed with fashion will find an entertaining, painless history lesson in this light romp.

Louise, 12, envies her best friend, who is becoming an actual teenager. Worse, her dad has suddenly lost his job, so Louise won’t be going on her much-anticipated trip to France with her classmates. She consoles herself by indulging in her obsession, vintage fashion, at the exclusive traveling vintage-clothing store that has sent her another exclusive invitation. The last time she visited the peripatetic store, she wound up traveling back in time to the Titanic, and she wonders if she can take another trip. Of course she can, winding up in the court of 14-year-old Princess Marie Antoinette just after her marriage to Prince Louis. Louise finds herself in the persona of a Duchess called Gabrielle. The amazing excesses of the court astonish her, as, of course, does the fashion. However, she also learns about the appalling conditions of the people of France and tries to awaken Marie Antoinette to their misery. She remembers the lecture her history teacher gave her class about the French Revolution, but can’t recall just when it happened. Is Louise herself in personal danger? Turetsky delivers her enjoyable history lesson through the eyes of a girl who knows every major and minor fashion designer, a character sure to appeal to her target audience, as will the time-traveling theme. Appealing illustrations aid readers’ imaginations. 

Good fun. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-10538-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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