Back-story heavy and with a large, difficult-to-keep-straight cast, this is only for fans of the original series as they age...

GOOD WISH GONE BAD

From the Star Darlings series

The Star Darlings series expands from chapter books (and television) to middle grade with this book launching the new line.

Although it takes place after the original 12 Star Darlings books, the majority of this book consists of flashbacks around the relationship of Starling Academy headmistress, Stella, and primary antagonist, Rancora. After their successful missions, Lady Stella gathers the Star Darlings to inform them of the oracle’s missing page, presumably stolen by Rancora, and the possibility that they may be called upon to stop her future schemes. Then the Star Darlings investigate and uncover the three flashback stories. The first (and most successful) takes readers to Stella’s and Cora’s school days as best friends and the betrayals that tear them apart; the second covers Stella’s wish-granting innovations and the dark cloud that hangs over the horizon; and the third describes Rancora’s schemes and nefarious activities leading right up to the original series. The wish action includes some head-scratching logic as well as simplistic takes on feminism and racial justice—but the book clearly means well. Finally back in the present timeline, the Star Darlings have a blink-and-it’s-over encounter with Rancora followed by a reiteration that they’ll need to stop Rancora again—in future installments, obviously.

Back-story heavy and with a large, difficult-to-keep-straight cast, this is only for fans of the original series as they age out of chapter books. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-5351-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney Editions

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more