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


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

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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.


Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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