WITCH'S SISTER

Lynn is sure that her sister Judith, who spends a mysterious lot of time taking sewing lessons from morbid old Mrs. Tuggle on the hill, is a witch, and when the girls' parents take a weekend trip, calling in Mrs. Tuggle as resident sitter, on just the night that witches are said to take the blood of infants for their spells, Lynn is terrified for her little brother Stevie. The circumstantial evidence mounts, culminating in a midnight struggle — but when Mother, a writer, returns, she tells of an ending she has invented for the story that Lynn's suspicions have inspired: "At the very end, in a horribly scary scene with the old woman and Ann (Lynn) alone together, their two shadows mingling in the light of the candle, Ann discovers that it is not really Elsie (Judith) after all who is becoming a witch, but she herself; and when she looks in the mirror, she sees instead the face of the old woman." An underhanded way perhaps to work a trick ending the author herself would reject into a story that had to have one, but it does get the point across to Lynn — and to readers who will at times be half convinced that she's right.

Pub Date: March 12, 1975

ISBN: 0689853157

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1975

HIDE AND GEEK

From the Hide and Geek series , Vol. 1

A snappy mystery that’s full of heart.

A group of bright friends tackles the puzzle of their lives.

Elmwood, New Hampshire, 11-year-old Gina Sparks is small in stature but big on reporting ongoing dramas for the local newspaper with support from her journalist mom. When an unbelievable scoop comes her way, Gina must rely on her tightknit crew of sixth grade best friends whose initials happen to spell GEEK, a label they choose to proudly reclaim. She and science-minded prankster Elena Hernández, theater kid Edgar Feingarten, and driven math genius Kevin Robinson decide to get to the bottom of things when they learn that the Van Houten Toy & Game Company heir made elaborate plans to leave everything to the town of Elmwood before her death—but only if a member of the community could solve an intricate multistep puzzle. Gina hopes that deciphering the clues and finding the missing fortune will be just the thing to revitalize the down-on-its-luck town and bring the Elmwood Tribune back into the black, saving her mom’s job and Gina’s passion project. The GEEKs work together, using their individual talents and deductive reasoning skills to unravel the mystery. Infused with media literacy pointers, such as the difference between fact and opinion and reminders to avoid bias when reporting, the story encourages readers to think critically. Gina and Edgar read as White; Elena is cued as Latinx, and Kevin is implied Black.

A snappy mystery that’s full of heart. (Mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37793-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY

From the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series , Vol. 1

Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read...

When a lock-in becomes a reality game, 12-year-old Kyle Keeley and his friends use library resources to find their way out of Alexandriaville’s new public library.

The author of numerous mysteries for children and adults turns his hand to a puzzle adventure with great success. Starting with the premise that billionaire game-maker Luigi Lemoncello has donated a fortune to building a library in a town that went without for 12 years, Grabenstein cleverly uses the tools of board and video games—hints and tricks and escape hatches—to enhance this intricate and suspenseful story. Twelve 12-year-old winners of an essay contest get to be the first to see the new facility and, as a bonus, to play his new escape game. Lemoncello’s gratitude to the library of his childhood extends to providing a helpful holographic image of his 1968 librarian, but his modern version also includes changing video screens, touch-screen computers in the reading desks and an Electronic Learning Center as well as floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stretching up three stories. Although the characters, from gamer Kyle to schemer Charles Chiltington, are lightly developed, the benefits of pooling strengths to work together are clear.

Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read is a winner for readers and game-players alike. (Mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87089-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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