The story positively vibrates with fun.

READ REVIEW

A DRAGON'S GUIDE TO MAKING YOUR HUMAN SMARTER

From the Dragon's Guide series , Vol. 2

Following A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans (2015), the saga of Miss Drake, a dragon living in San Francisco, continues as she tries to train her pet human in the ways of magic.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Miss Drake and her little human pet, Winnie, the story derives humor from their juxtaposition. Winnie, of course, sees Miss Drake as her pet, but the two never realize their different viewpoints. Even though she is a “natural” rather than a “magical,” Winnie gets to go to the wonderfully multiethnic, multispecies Spriggs Academy, where she will get an education like no other, with amazing teachers such as the real Sir Isaac Newton. However, as in all schools, Winnie will have to cope with a clique of hostile girls, here led by the niece of a famous sorceress. Lurking in the distant background is a threat from Winnie’s grandfather, a rich and selfish man who wants to take Winnie from her mom. If Winnie does not learn how to defeat him, her memory of Miss Drake will be wiped clean, and Miss Drake herself will have to leave her comfy San Francisco home. Can Winnie get some help from the wonderful, magical nesting Small Doll, who loves chocolate? Yep and Ryder keep the magic coming with their whimsical fantasy, enhanced by Grandpré’s sweet drawings.

The story positively vibrates with fun. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-39232-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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

TUCK EVERLASTING

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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SPACE CASE

From the Moon Base Alpha series , Vol. 1

When Dr. Holtz’s body is discovered just outside the lunar colony, everyone assumes he made a mistake putting on his spacesuit—but 12-year-old Dashiell “Dash” Gibson has reason to believe this was no accident.

Earth’s first space base has been a living hell for Dash. There’s not much to do on the moon besides schoolwork and virtual-reality gaming, and there’s only a handful of kids his age up there with him. The chance to solve a murder is exactly the type of excitement Dash needs. As clues are found and secrets are uncovered, Dash comes to understand that some of the base’s residents aren’t what they seem to be. With a small cast of characters supplying an excellent variety of suspects, Gibbs creates the best kind of “murder on a train” mystery. The genius, however, is putting the train in space. Closed quarters and techno–mumbo-jumbo add delightful color to the proceedings. Thankfully, the author doesn’t let the high-concept setting overshadow the novel’s mystery. The whodunit is smartly paced and intricately plotted. Best of all, the reveal is actually worth all the buildup. Thrillers too often fly off the rails in their final moments, but the author’s steady hand keeps everything here on track.

Fully absorbing. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9486-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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