An addition that delicately illustrates the Cuban-American experience through a poetic and scientific lens not often seen.

FOREST WORLD

Young People’s Poet Laureate Engle (Enchanted Air, 2016, etc.) brings readers the alternating poetic voices of a brother and sister navigating the complexity of their family dynamics and of “twenty-first-century attitudes / toward nature.”

Cuban-born, Miami-raised Edver, ne Verde, is sent by his cryptozoologist mother to Cuba to meet his father, not knowing that he has a sister just one year older waiting for him as well. Twelve-year-old Luza, nee Azul, is eager to meet her younger brother but soon feels the disparity in how they have grown up. Neither sibling understands the choices the adults in their lives have made—choices that have kept these two who could be twins, one with curly, one with straight hair, but both with “the same reddish-brown skin, black eyes, / fierce glares, and reversed names,” apart. Edver and Luza come together when they find themselves protecting the forest world they love. Readers may be unsatisfied with the unsurprising denouement, but the book arrives at a realistic open ending, and the poetic journey is one of rich juxtapositions between the real and the marvelous, technology and nature, science and art, past histories and possible futures.

An addition that delicately illustrates the Cuban-American experience through a poetic and scientific lens not often seen. (glossary of biodiversity words) (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9057-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A richly atmospheric page-turner—readers will eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel.

THE CLOCKWORK CROW

Young Seren Rhys stands on the cusp of a new life. Unfortunately for her, the train to her new life is late.

Following the death of her aunt, who saved her from her 12-year stay at the orphanage, she receives word that her godfather, Capt. Arthur Jones, will take her in. Seren spends her wait dreaming of the Jones family and their surely bustling, welcoming manor, Plas-y-Fran in Wales. An encounter with a mysterious man and his more mysterious wrapped parcel (containing the eponymous mechanical bird) leaves Seren reeling, and the mysteries multiply when she arrives at Plas-y-Fran. The place is shuttered and cold, nearly deserted but for a few fearful, oppressively unforthcoming servants. The captain and his wife are away; of their young son, Tomos, there is neither sign nor sound. With the Crow as her only, if reluctant, ally, Seren soon finds herself enmeshed in mayhem and magic that may prove lethal. In her characteristic style, Fisher crafts an elaborate fantasy from deceptively simple language. Seren is a sharp, saucy narrator whose constant puzzlement at others’ consternation over her impertinence provides running amusement. Supporting characters are fascinating if ambiguous players, not so much poorly drawn as poorly revealed, perhaps casualties of the quick pace. The deadened manor, however, provides the perfect backdrop for preternatural forces. Characters are presumed white.

A richly atmospheric page-turner—readers will eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1491-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A delicious confection and much more: it shows that the human heart is delicate, that it matters, and that it must be...

CIRCUS MIRANDUS

One strange afternoon, 10-year-old Micah Tuttle finds out that magic is real.

Micah always thought Grandpa Ephraim’s wild stories of the centuries-old Circus Mirandus were spun solely for his amusement. But when his dying grandfather writes a letter to the “Lightbender,” hoping to call in the miracle the magician had promised him as a boy, Micah learns the stories were true, and the appearance of Ms. Chintzy, the circus’ cantankerous parrot messenger, clinches the deal. Happily, Micah finds a loyal if somewhat challenging friend to help him track down the elusive light-bending magician: the magic-leery, science-minded Jenny Mendoza. Their budding rapport is nuanced and complex, a refreshing illustration of how absolute like-mindedness is not a prerequisite for friendship. On one level, the book is a fantastical circus romp, with fortunetelling vultures and “a wallaby that could burp the Greek alphabet.” On another, it’s both serious and thick with longing: Micah’s ache for the companionship of his once-vital guardian-grandfather; Grandpa Ephraim’s boyhood yearning for his absent father, as fleshed out in flashbacks; the circus founders’ desire to keep enchantment alive in a world where “faith is such a fragile thing.”

A delicious confection and much more: it shows that the human heart is delicate, that it matters, and that it must be handled with care. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-42843-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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