RAVEN QUEST

Tok the raven is a nobody, an outcast. His father disgraced and killed, Tok is left with no name, no claim on territory, only shame and rage. When accused of nest breaking and murder, he must flee, in hopes of performing some deed of valor for the good of the raven community that will restore his rightful place in their world. Tok sets off on a journey to find the legendary Grey Lords, the Singers, said to be ancient partners of the ravens; in a thrilling tale of adventure, he succeeds in his quest and is reunited with his mother and community, restoring an ancient bond between ravens and wolves. It is a credit to Stewart’s storytelling that the ending of a story about ravens and wolves can be as exciting, poignant and tearful as any realistic novel. Fans of Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing (1997) will soar with Tok. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-57505-894-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

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WAR DOG

In his first novel for young readers, Booth (Dreaming of Samarkand, 1990, etc.) introduces Jet, a black Labrador hero in the tradition of Rin Tin Tin. After Jet's owner is jailed for poaching game, the dog is enlisted in the British Armed Forces. This isn't as crazy as it sounds; the preface reminds readers that many animals have been requisitioned in times of war. World War II is brewing in Europe and Jet proves to be the perfect military trainee. She is sent to combat with her new ``handler'' in France, where her duties include sniffing out the enemy and the wounded. When Jet herself is wounded, she serves her country in a different capacity by searching out people buried in rubble in a bomb-torn city. Soon, she's needed back in the front lines, where she is miraculously reunited with her original owner. Military buffs will relish the war details: This book has the feel of the black-and-white movies of the 1940s. All readers will be stirred by the heroic canine's adventures. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-689-81380-5

Page Count: 133

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1997

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THE NIGHT DANCE

Weak writing ruins a nicely structured integration of Arthurian legend with a Grimm’s fairy tale. Rowena’s locked up with her 11 sisters because her father’s afraid that they’ll disappear like their mother, Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake. Each night they disappear underground, where dancing destroys their elegant slippers. Elsewhere, Sir Bedivere promises a dying King Arthur to return Excalibur to Vivienne. Bedivere and Rowena share reciprocal mystical visions in which they fall in love. The sisters’ nightly dancing, as well as their goal of finding their lost mother, leads to the same enchanted underground lake as Bedivere’s task of honor. Details of “Twelve Dancing Princesses” are skillfully woven in with the Camelot plot; however, the text is cluttered with modifiers, the narration is unsubtle and trite and the workings of magic are shallow. Instead, see Vivian Vande Velde’s Book of Mordred (July 2005) and Dia Calhoun’s Phoenix Dance (October 2005). (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-4169-0579-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2005

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