A busy, imaginative, beguiling fairy tale.


Tetong in the Land of the Unknown

In this lush, kaleidoscopic children’s fantasy, a plucky Filipino lad embarks on a magical mystery tour in search of a talisman that can save his father’s life.

Twelve-year-old Tetong rolls his eyes at the superstitious beliefs held by people in his Filipino village, but that skepticism is soon demolished by the mind-blowing adventures he experiences in this frenetic yarn. When his father contracts a mysterious ailment that baffles local healers, Tetong sets off in search of a cure and has encounters with strange and supernatural beings. He makes friends with an irascible witch and a creek monster (whom he returns to human form), rescues an injured eagle, liberates roosters from cruel bondage and frees horses from impending slaughter. His good-heartedness wins him valuable allies, an invisibility hat, a magic green orb and the power to fly, but it also incurs the wrath of a sorcerer known as the Man In Black, whom Tetong will have to fight in order to find a magic bird and lift the curse on the Land of the Unknown. Reyna tells Tetong’s story in the classic style of a fairy tale: Wondrous happenings proceed matter-of-factly; developments unfold by arbitrary incantatory rules; animals talk; and a deep moral reciprocity shapes a world in which favors are always repaid. Her prose is straightforward and brisk, her lavish imagery at times almost psychedelic (“[S]mall drops of purple light changed to orange and huge rolling eyeballs seemed to stare at him”) and her characters piquant. Along the way, she includes descriptive passages about Filipino village life, illustrated with engaging sketches. The narrative teems with so much action and spectacle that it sometimes loses the main story thread amid the whirl, but young readers will find plenty of diverting romps to hold their attention.

A busy, imaginative, beguiling fairy tale. 

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2012

ISBN: 13-978-1479205691

Page Count: 260

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2013

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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