The story positively vibrates with fun.

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more