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This delightful, compact tale mingles the natural world and a hint of magic.

Youngsters scour the globe for precious stones to prevent the worst of all dinosaurs from hatching in this middle-grade fantasy sequel.

Eight months after Sam’s adventure in the fascinating subterranean Under-Under World, she happily reunites with its leader, the Great Hildinski. It turns out she’s met and inadvertently revealed secrets to the Great Hildinski’s diabolical twin sister. Sam, certain she’s put Under-Under at risk, gets dangerously close to The Sister and learns this woman has her hands on four giant eggs of the Slashasaurus. As that’s definitely not a benevolent dinosaur species, the only apparent defense is freezing the eggs before they hatch. But to do that, Sam, her friend, her little brother, and Gemini the cat must find six rubies on six different continents, starting on Sam’s North America. Thanks to physics-defying tunnels and a magic compass, the kids can knock this out in a matter of hours. But that still might not be enough time to stop the “spectacularly evil plan” that The Sister has cooking with the soon-to-hatch Slashasauri. Along with the excitement below, absorbing drama unfolds aboveground in Whatever’s second series installment. For example, an accident left Sam’s beloved guardian, Aunt C, in a coma, while a jeweler accuses Sam of stealing Aunt C’s pearls, which the girl tries to sell to feed herself and her brother. Although this novel shows little of the Under-Under World realm, the trade-off is a superb journey around the world; Sam and others trek a vast desert, explore a sunken ship, and bask in the sights and fragrances of a city’s open-air spice market and festive garlands. Gemini once again enchants; she seems an ordinary feline but somehow knows where everyone needs to go. As in the earlier novel, the author’s simple, vibrant artwork enhances this story, from the characters to the places they roam.

This delightful, compact tale mingles the natural world and a hint of magic.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2022

ISBN: 979-8408735044

Page Count: 259

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2022

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From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

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

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 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem.

A middle schooler struggles to adjust after moving to an idyllic Massachusetts town.

Trish Das is at a crossroads. Not only is the 12-year-old unhappy that her family has moved yet again due to her mother’s cardiology career, she also has to try out for a new baseball team. The fact that one of her new teammates is a former archrival further complicates matters. Math prodigy Ben Messina went head-to-head against fellow math whiz Trish at last spring’s Math Puzzlers Championship. When Trish emerged victorious, Ben was stunned. The two get closer when the team’s mysterious pregame snacks start making everyone play better while also causing magical side effects during games. Equally surprising are the cryptic puzzle booklets Trish and Ben receive in the mail that lead them to even more wins. But as the puzzles get harder to solve, the risk of failing to do so increases. Alternating between Trish’s and Ben’s perspectives, LaRocca’s novel—a companion to 2019’s Midsummer’s Mayhem—is a Much Ado About Nothing homage that explores parental expectations, complicated friendships, and teamwork. The protagonists’ love of problem-solving shines through, and the puzzles themselves are clearly explained. As a third-generation Indian American, Trish also has moving conversations about the circumstances that led her grandparents to emigrate and how those decisions still impact their lives. Ben is implied White. Final illustrations not seen.

A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1101-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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