An imaginative, fun adventure that’s just the beginning of a new amalgamated mythology.

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SKY SHIFTER

QUESTS OF SHADOWIND

Fantasy adventure spins between terror and comedy when teen siblings battle supernatural forces lurking in the forest and their computers.

When 15-year-old Logan and his 13-year-old sister Mindy wake up after a neighborhood picnic, they find themselves in a strange house near a beach and woods. Their first thoughts are practical—“Where are Mom and Dad?” Their next are childish; they tease each other about the funny pajamas they find themselves in. The pair soon discovers that while familiar kids live in nearby houses, there are no adults. In Lord of the Flies fashion, the youngsters split into teams of good guys and bad guys. Generous and brave Logan realizes that he can magically enter the computer in his bedroom, play games and then return. Things go horribly wrong when Kyle, the neighborhood bully, sets evil in motion after being tempted by the shadowy Silhouettes who visit at dawn and dusk. Animals in the nearby woods speak to each other about the children and some try to help. When Logan and Mindy become trapped inside the computer world, the sinister Lord Torrent of the Deep Shadows hatches a plot to gain a powerful staff hidden there by the mysterious Bill Purdy. Various pixel characters the siblings meet while inside the computer (including versions of their parents, an uncle, the bumbling comic Detective Danby, the hapless gambler Nick Roman and a fortune teller) help and hinder their struggle to get home to the “real” world. After a satisfying conclusion, the promise of more adventures looms when the newly forgiven Kyle muses that “deep down, he knew he had enjoyed being a bully….something in his brain triggered happiness when he inflicted grief on others.” This well-written tale combines two imaginary worlds popular with younger readers—fantasy and computer games. Plus, the tale isn’t really over; this is the first of an eight-book series. No need to say goodbye to Mindy and Logan, a young pair with the smarts and spunk to overcome whatever the future brings.

An imaginative, fun adventure that’s just the beginning of a new amalgamated mythology.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615439259

Page Count: 298

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2011

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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