From the The Secrets of the Pied Piper series , Vol. 3

Trolls and ogres and emo preteens. Oh my.

Thirteen-year-old Max and her brother, Carter, are trapped on the enchanted Summer Isle with the misdirected Pied Piper, the evil Grannie Yaga, and the lost children of Hamelin.

The siblings are separated and fighting their own battles. Carter, whom everyone believes to be the prophesied last son of Hamelin, practices magic with the erratic and unstable Piper. Meanwhile, Max has enlisted the help of some of the inhabitants of New Hamelin to fight ogres, escape witchcraft, and reunite with her brother. But magical creatures and evil witches are only part of the problem. The Summer Isle is changing—and not for the better. If Max and Carter are to escape the island, thwart Grannie Yaga’s plans, rescue the children of Hamelin, and restore their parents’ souls, they will need their friends’ help: human, trollson, spirit, and elfling alike. Fans of the series will enjoy the fast-paced, magic-filled conclusion to the trilogy, while readers unfamiliar with the siblings’ adventures will be grateful for the abundance of summary offered in the early chapters. The clever retelling of a familiar tale neatly blends modern preteen angst with plenty of high-stakes magical adventuring. Diversity is found mostly among the nonhumans; Max and Carter are white.

Trolls and ogres and emo preteens. Oh my. (Adventure. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-75530-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017



A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016


Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals.

Is dolphin-assisted therapy so beneficial to patients that it’s worth keeping a wild dolphin captive?

Twelve-year-old Lily has lived with her emotionally distant oncologist stepfather and a succession of nannies since her mother died in a car accident two years ago. Nannies leave because of the difficulty of caring for Adam, Lily’s severely autistic 4-year-old half brother. The newest, Suzanne, seems promising, but Lily is tired of feeling like a planet orbiting the sun Adam. When she meets blind Zoe, who will attend the same private middle school as Lily in the fall, Lily’s happy to have a friend. However, Zoe’s take on the plight of the captive dolphin, Nori, used in Adam’s therapy opens Lily’s eyes. She knows she must use her influence over her stepfather, who is consulting on Nori’s treatment for cancer (caused by an oil spill), to free the animal. Lily’s got several fine lines to walk, as she works to hold onto her new friend, convince her stepfather of the rightness of releasing Nori, and do what’s best for Adam. In her newest exploration of animal-human relationships, Rorby’s lonely, mature heroine faces tough but realistic situations. Siblings of children on the spectrum will identify with Lily. If the tale flirts with sentimentality and some of the characters are strident in their views, the whole never feels maudlin or didactic.

Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-67605-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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