A witty, energetic story that’s as educational as it is entertaining.

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ROGUE WOLF

From the The Oldenglen Chronicles series , Vol. 3

In the continuation of Mason’s (Lone Wolf, 2016, etc.) middle-grade fantasy series, young Jackson Wolfe tries to prevent a hostile wolf pack and poachers from harming his family and animal friends.

England-born Jackson has truly found his place in the magical Oregon valley called Oldenglen, where he and his family make their home. Thanks to a wolf bite that his father sustained as a child, Jackson has heightened senses of smell and hearing. He’s the perfect intermediary between the glen’s “woodfolk” animals and humans, particularly because he also possesses the powerful Gladestone, which grants him the ability to converse with wildlife. But not all the animals are friendly—an unknown wolf pack, led by Rogue, is planning to settle in the glen. Not only could the woodfolk become the wolves’ prey, but the pack’s presence, so close to humans, could also attract hunters. Meanwhile, poachers have snatched a fledgling eagle named Windlord from the glen. Jackson organizes a rescue mission, but he may be losing the woodfolk’s trust; he wants to drive Rogue’s pack away without any killing, while some animals would prefer letting gun-happy humans take care of the problem. With help from his human pal, Sarah Lopez, Jackson struggles to ensure everyone’s safety, including his own. Mason’s third series installment offers another rousing Oldenglen tale. The story starts quickly—Jackson spots the unfamiliar wolf pack in the very first chapter—and a handful of animal and human villains help maintain a perpetual sense of menace. Overall, it’s a breezy read that’s filled with welcome moments of humor, as when Notch, the black-tailed jackrabbit, says, “I’m all ears.” Readers will sympathize with Jackson’s ongoing struggle with his own identity; a few animals think him to be a wolf sympathizer, while the vicious Rogue abhors his human side. Mason also presents a motley, offbeat assortment of characters, including a vole and saw-whet owl, which may encourage young readers to do further research on unfamiliar species.

A witty, energetic story that’s as educational as it is entertaining.

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9948371-6-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tricklewood Press

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2017

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An artfully crafted tale with mesmerizing details and a subtle exploration of free will and good versus evil.

BEHIND THE BLUE

A fan of magic and her reluctant companion embark on an adventure when the mysterious Blue Man charges them with a mission.

Little Katherine contemplates what exists behind the scrim of the sky, and she gets her answer after she meets a boy named Charlie, who literally runs into her upon fleeing a blue man and a talking salamander he encounters in the nearby forest. The man is non-threatening, and asks the two to help him recover some lost items, to which Katherine heartily agrees. He doesn’t provide much information, however, so once she and Charlie enter this enchanted universe, they must take it upon themselves to figure out what the Blue Man has lost and how to go about helping him find it. With the help of guides like snarky, enigmatic Gerald and good-natured Frank, the children travel through very deep puddles to different realms behind the clouds, learning about the Blue Man’s nemesis, Grey Lady, who may have snatched his magical dragon stones. Schilling’s well drawn, vibrant world elevates his story above the standard adventure quest. His lively, amusing dialogue complements a fantastical world where fish flit through the air like bees (and may accidentally transport you elsewhere), manta rays make shy cabbies, crushed flowers pop back to life and magic permeates everything. While adults will find the narrative captivating, this book is tailor-made for storytime read-alouds.

An artfully crafted tale with mesmerizing details and a subtle exploration of free will and good versus evil.

Pub Date: July 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-595-36189-7

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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THE BANISHED

In a prequel to The Ice Bear (1986), Siri’s people live in the frozen Starkland settlement, residing peacefully with the primitive Furfolk, who communicate by whuffles and grunts. Siri’s Uncle Thorvald plans to convince the king to rescind their people’s banishment to that remote arctic isle with the gift of an ice bear and its cubs. To do this he needs the help of his friend, a Furfolk man, who can handle the bear on the long sea journey; Siri accompanies them disguised as one of the Furfolk man’s children. But when the king insists that the Furfolk man stay with the bear, Thorvald is forced to betray his friend for the sake of his people, while Siri chooses to betray Thorvald for her new Furfolk friends. Her allegiances have shifted during the course of the journey, and in the end it is left unclear whether her people will try to destroy the Furfolk, and what Siri can do to stop them. This complex, atmospheric morality tale offers no easy answers, and takes place in a world that is alien and exotic. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16602-4

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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