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Ageless yarn-spinning, if not quite so laced with thrilling melodrama as John Yeoman and Quentin Blake’s rendition (1997).

Bright-eyed beneath a huge, floppy turban, an ever optimistic merchant sets out again and again on rocky roads to riches in this lighthearted version of the classic Arabian Nights adventures, from two Iranian expats.

Forgetting with comical regularity the disasters of each previous voyage, Sinbad repeatedly sets out from Basra with companies of fellow merchants on sea voyages. These invariably end in shipwreck and go on, through encounters with rocs, giant fish, cannibals, and such hazardous customs as the practice of burying living husbands with their dead wives, to conclude in miraculous restorations of luck and fortune. Though he relegates mention of Scheherazade to an introduction, Said links his first-person renditions with the secondary frame story common in traditional versions. Similarly, though the figures in her vignettes and wide-bordered full-page illustrations sport cartoonishly exaggerated garb and expressions, Rashin incorporates simplified but evocative Persian and other Middle Eastern stylistic motifs. Some pictures part company in major ways with the narrative, though, and less-than-proficient readers may find Said’s formal prose—“There is no protection and no power besides that of God the Almighty! But as often as God is merciful to me and frees me from one perilous situation, I plunge myself into another”—a bit of a slog.

Ageless yarn-spinning, if not quite so laced with thrilling melodrama as John Yeoman and Quentin Blake’s rendition (1997). (Folk tales. 10-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4240-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)



Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Writing as authority “Miss Edythe McFate,” Blume reveals that, even in New York, fairy folk are all around—having adapted to the urban environment—and so city children had best take special care not to run afoul of them. In two-dozen short chapters she introduces many types, explains their powers and (usually mischievous) proclivities and dispels common superstitions. She also suggests doable practices and strategies to stay on their good sides, such as leaving dishes of warm water, flower petals and Gummi bears around the house and ushering inchworms and ladybugs (all of which are fairy pets) found indoors back outside rather than killing them. Along with frequent weedy borders and corner spots, Foote adds portraits of chubby or insectile creatures, often in baroque attire. Interspersed with eight original tales (of children rescuing brownies ejected from the Algonquin Hotel during renovations, discovering a magical farm behind a door in the Lincoln Tunnel and so on), this collection of lore (much of it newly minted) offers an entertaining change of pace from the more traditional likes of Susannah Marriott’s Field Guide to Fairies (2009). (Informational fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-375-86203-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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