A COMB OF WISHES

Will tug at readers’ heartstrings.

A young girl discovers a mermaid’s comb and is granted the chance of a lifetime.

Kela Boxhill is a 12-year-old Black girl from the fictional Caribbean island of St. Rita who enjoys collecting sea glass that she turns into jewelry, something her mother taught her how to do. It’s the only activity she has found any pleasure in since her mother’s passing left her devastated and adrift. One day, while walking the beach, Kela feels called to explore a cave in a protected and off-limits area of the shore. She discovers an ancient-looking box and takes it home with her. She finds a decorated comb inside and, remembering the many stories her mother shared with her, suspects it contains magic. Unbeknown to Kela, it is the property of a mermaid named Ophidia, who is none too pleased to have had her precious property taken. According to the rules, the only way that Ophidia can get her comb back is to grant Kela a wish. Will Kela ask for what she most desires—to have her mother come back to life—despite Ophidia’s warning of the risk this entails? Stringfellow weaves an enchanting tale of loss, longing, and discovery infused with Caribbean folklore. Readers will be captivated by Kela’s story and become invested in her journey as she tries to deal with the grief of losing her mother as well as regret for her past actions.

Will tug at readers’ heartstrings. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304343-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Close Quickview