Inventive and, yes, charming.

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CHARMED, I'M SURE

Rosie White Charming is an ordinary eighth-grader in New York City—who happens to be the beloved daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White Charming.

The white girl’s parents have thoroughly embraced modern life, building a very successful web-based business, Charming Lifestyles, that includes advice and their own product line. At least until now, Rosie has remained very much her own person, wearing sneakers and thrift store clothing and having fun with her friends. But she is dateless for the upcoming school dance and reluctantly asks her mom for help. A huge makeover, involving hairstyle, clothing, makeup, and the gift of a mirrored compact changes not only her appearance, but how she is seen by her peers and how she sees herself. Like the magic mirror in her parents’ story, the compact’s mirror speaks to her, goading her into behaviors that are against her own nature and reminding her of the wicked queen. Somehow she manages to take control, regain her true self, learn an important life lesson, and go to the dance with a really nice boy, also white. (Rosie’s New York City is not a particularly diverse one.) There are many moments of laugh-out-loud fun in Littman’s mishmash of fairy tale and quirky reality, including appearances by Rosie’s “height disadvantaged ‘uncles.’ ” Rosie is loving and compassionate, and she narrates her tale with wit, humor, and just the right amount of middle school angst.

Inventive and, yes, charming. (Fantasy. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5127-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Moving and poetic.

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PAX

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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