Readers bewitched by this lively series will enjoy this adventurous sequel.

IF THE SHOE FITS

From the Whatever After series , Vol. 2

Intrepid siblings Abby and Jonah continue their adventures through the realm of fairy tales in this comical story (Fairest of All, 2012).

Having recently returned—via magic mirror—from Snow White’s world, 10-year-old Abby is searching for answers. She longs to discover why she and her brother were sent into the fairy tale. However, her investigation quickly goes awry when, instead of receiving an explanation, the duo is suddenly transported through the mirror and into a different tale. Once there, an accident involving Abby, the iconic glass slipper and Cinderella’s foot alters the course of the traditional story. Soon, the siblings are racing against time to restore the fairy tale and return home. Once again Mlynowski cleverly revises a classic fairy tale, offering a fresh interpretation of Cinderella’s story and giving it a modern update. In this version, a feisty fairy godmother challenges Cinderella to rely upon her own ingenuity—not a handsome prince—to remedy her situation, and a formerly mean stepsister becomes quite sympathetic and remorseful. Despite many humorous mishaps and a surprising transformation, the ever-resourceful Abby’s savvy wit and Jonah’s enthusiastic assistance overcome all obstacles.

Readers bewitched by this lively series will enjoy this adventurous sequel. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-41567-5

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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