The weak plot doesn’t really bear up under its instructional load, but there’s enough farce to keep the lessons well-greased.

THE NOT-SO-PERFECT PLANET

From the Way-Too-Real Aliens series , Vol. 2

Caving to the demands of his pesky little sister Maggie, aspiring fictioneer Josh’s second fantasy story features a world with mermaids and unicorns. Sort of.

The devil's in the details, though, and just as in the series opener (Escape From Planet Yastol, 2011) the two find themselves stranded in an actual, newly made reality based on Josh's tale but inhabited by toothy, twisted versions of the residents he has inexpertly envisioned. Furthermore, during the ensuing series of captures and escapes, Josh and Maggie are joined by no fewer than five different kinds of creatures, each of whom turns out to be a youngest child afflicted with bossy parents and scornful older sibs. The plot is no more than a set of loosely connected set pieces, but readers may find the burgeoning corps of somehow–familiar-sounding furred, scaled, winged, finny and even stone whiners amusing, and budding writers may take both Service’s indirect advice about verbal precision and her embedded examples of Theme, Composition, Character Development and Revision to heart. Gorman’s angular figures of grotesque aliens and their frantic-looking creator in various predicaments goose up the comic overtones.

The weak plot doesn’t really bear up under its instructional load, but there’s enough farce to keep the lessons well-greased. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7919-5

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Darby Creek

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

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

Did you like this book?

more