A fantastical adventure fortified by its flawed heroine.



Greta—one of the girls sold to Belladoma as fodder for the sea monster who threatens monthly floods in Monstrous (2015)—makes a dangerous deal with a witch to save her brother.

Greta’s dismayed that King Oliver wants to aid the devastated Belladoma after Monstrous. Still reeling from her trauma, she can’t forgive Belladoma for using Bryre’s girls as sacrifices. When her last relative, her brother Hans, goes missing, she begs the king for help—but, as she has concealed Hans’ existence to keep him from an orphanage, the king thinks it’s a ploy to prevent them from helping Belladoma. Hurt they’ve called her a liar, Greta leaves to save Hans and finds his captor, a Baba Yaga–like witch who eats children and has a house on chicken legs. They strike a deal: if Greta retrieves a long-lost magical cornucopia, the siblings go free; otherwise, they’re on the witch’s menu. Greta’s quest brings her to a village of centaurs and other hybrids, up against mercenaries, and to Belladoma, where her assumptions about its people’s callousness are challenged while she works through her trauma. Connolly does an admirable job ensuring each detail introduced eventually serves the plot. Greta tackles issues of compassion and loyalty with the courage and wits she fights with, and the fairy-tale ending will leave readers happy. The finished book will include a prequel novella.

A fantastical adventure fortified by its flawed heroine. (Fantasy. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-227274-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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...


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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Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning.


From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 3

In the third instalment of the Pandava Quartet, 14-year-old Arundhati “Aru” Shah and her companions need to defeat their archnemesis (and Aru’s father), the Sleeper, and prevent the impending war between the devas and asuras.

The novel opens with Aru and her friends on a mission to rescue two people from the Sleeper’s soldiers. The two people are 10-year-old identical twins and Pandavas Nikita and Sheela, trapped atop a Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta. This mission is of utmost importance because Sheela is a clairvoyant with an important prophecy, which speaks of the rise of the Sleeper and an untrue Pandava sister—and which the Sleeper must not hear at any cost. Despite their best efforts, however, one of the Sleeper’s soldiers overhears the prophecy, and Aru, Mini, Brynne, and Adin—accompanied by Rudy, a serpent prince—set off to find the missing Kalpavriksha, a wish-granting tree, so that they might wish upon it to set things right. Much like its predecessors, this fast-moving adventure draws on Hindu cosmology and South Asian pop-culture references to create an enchanting but believable magical Otherworld, where gods, demigods, demons, and talking animals abound. Chokshi’s novel is pitch perfect: The plot is action-packed, the dialogue witty, and the characters (almost all of whom are either Indian or part-Indian) are compelling, diverse, and complex.

Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-01385-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

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