This delightful sequel demonstrates that Tupelo Landing may be even better on a second visit



From the Mo & Dale Mysteries series , Vol. 2

With heaps of Southern charm and the homespun humor of a favorite uncle, Turnage presents the spirited follow-up to her Newbery Honor debut, Three Times Lucky (2012).

Just as its predecessor did, this sequel shines thanks to Turnage’s deft, lyrical language and engaging characters. Mo LoBeau and her Desperado Detective Agency cohort, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, are sixth graders now. When a purportedly haunted historic inn goes on auction and Mo’s guardian, Miss Lana, wins the bid, Mo is determined to use her detecting skills to find the ghost. Dale isn’t so sure, but Mo is a force of nature when she sets her mind. But Dale fears Mo has gone too far when, in a fit of one-upmanship with her archnemesis Anna “Attila” Celeste Simpson, Mo declares that she and Dale will do a class project on the town’s oldest citizen. Turnage crafts a laugh-out-loud scene: “It would mean extra credit,” Miss Retzyl points out. “Extra credit looms large with Dale, who specializes in the Recess Arts.... Attila flashed her braces. ‘There isn’t anyone older [than Mayor Little’s mother], Mo-ron’....My temper popped like bacon on a hot skillet. ‘There is too somebody older....Dale and me are interviewing a ghost.’ ” Naturally, Mo and Dale learn as much about growing up as they do about spirits from the great beyond.

This delightful sequel demonstrates that Tupelo Landing may be even better on a second visit . (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3671-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.


This is the way Pearl’s world ends: not with a bang but with a scream.

Pearl Moran was born in the Lancaster Avenue branch library and considers it more her home than the apartment she shares with her mother, the circulation librarian. When the head of the library’s beloved statue of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is found to be missing, Pearl’s scream brings the entire neighborhood running. Thus ensues an enchanting plunge into the underbelly of a failing library and a city brimful of secrets. With the help of friends old, uncertainly developing, and new, Pearl must spin story after compelling story in hopes of saving what she loves most. Indeed, that love—of libraries, of books, and most of all of stories—suffuses the entire narrative. Literary references are peppered throughout (clarified with somewhat superfluous footnotes) in addition to a variety of tangential sidebars (the identity of whose writer becomes delightfully clear later on). Pearl is an odd but genuine narrator, possessed of a complex and emotional inner voice warring with a stridently stubborn outer one. An array of endearing supporting characters, coupled with a plot both grounded in stressful reality and uplifted by urban fantasy, lend the story its charm. Both the neighborhood and the library staff are robustly diverse. Pearl herself is biracial; her “long-gone father” was black and her mother is white. Bagley’s spot illustrations both reinforce this and add gentle humor.

The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.   (reading list) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6952-1

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Another solid adventure that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but spins it quite well.


From the Spy School series , Vol. 6

The spy kids return for another Spy School adventure.

By now, the students at the CIA’s Academy of Espionage have had multiple exciting encounters with the villainous organization that calls itself SPYDER. The CIA is keen to take advantage of an offer made to them by disgraced ex-spy Murray Hill, a captured SPYDER teen agent. Narrator and agent Ben Ripley, 13, and his partner, Erica Hale, 15, are the only agents Murray will lead to SPYDER’s secret headquarters, so the duo reluctantly follows the traitor’s lead while their fellow students Mike Brezinski and Zoe Zibbell stow away. Things go south quickly, and soon the group is stuck in a strange land with no backup. At this point in the series fans know what they’re getting, and Gibbs doesn’t disappoint. The dialogue crackles, the schemes are clever, and the plotting is tight and efficient. Gibbs doesn’t divulge any of the character’s ethnicities, leaving room for interpretation in a key moment that is gracefully organic to the narrative. The book’s finale leaves room for more adventures, and fans’ interest in the series will be just as rabid after this fast-paced, good-humored entry.

Another solid adventure that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but spins it quite well. (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7785-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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