Readers will respond to this tale of enduring love and nascent self-discovery.

A TALE OF HIGHLY UNUSUAL MAGIC

Two contemporary girls become linked by a bizarre story from the past, magically emerging from an old book.

Twelve-year-old Kai’s visiting her great-aunt in Falls River, Texas, while Leila’s visiting her uncle’s family in Lahore, Pakistan. A solitary only child, Kai recently stopped playing her violin after deciding she would never be the best, while Leila longs for an international adventure to compete with her academically gifted younger sister. When Kai discovers a book entitled The Exquisite Corpse, inviting her to “embark on a journey of magic beyond your powers of discernment, imagination, and belief,” she sets a story in motion by writing on the blank page. Likewise, Leila finds and writes in a copy of The Exquisite Corpse. Each girl is stunned when her writing automatically appears in the emerging love story of Ralph Flabbergast and Edwina Pickle, turn-of-the-last-century residents of Falls River. As Ralph and Edwinas intriguing story unfolds in The Exquisite Corpse, bewildered Kai and Leila (and readers) wonder what’s happening, but the omniscient, unidentified intrusive narrator eventually pulls most disparate elements together, connecting past to present and Lahore to Falls River. Papademetriou writes with assurance, spinning a beguiling tale of seemingly unrelated characters and events and tying it all together with a touch of magical realism.

Readers will respond to this tale of enduring love and nascent self-discovery. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-237121-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

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THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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