An offbeat blend of education and mayhem, themed just right for Halloween.

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A TANGLE OF BRUNGLES

A coven of witches stirs up the Great Brungle Stew with a variety of collective nouns to summon Mr. Brungle, the “wickedly vile” heartthrob of “the witch with a wart,” in this offering from India.

“A QUIVER OF COBRAS, / Shoot them in straight. / From A LOUNGE OF LIZARDS / Add exactly eight! // Make sure to toss in / A MISCHIEF OF MICE. / Or just one big rat / Is sure to suffice.” Interesting and unusual collective nouns for different animals are written in uppercase type, while the rest of the text is set in standard fashion. The rhymes of the quatrains as well as the meter are occasionally inconsistent. Illustrations are darkly colorful, with the many animals represented fairly realistically, while the witches, with brown skin and white hair, sport long, pointy noses and sparse teeth. Their charm delights (though it may need some practice before reading aloud): “Tremple Gemple Fever Sticks / Pimple Poxile Psittacosis / Frungle Brungle, Where Are You? / Appear Now! Shimshamshoo!” When the spell does not work, one of the witch sisters adds the last essential ingredient at midnight, and what appears? The titular tangle of brungles! The collective nouns range far and wide, as the witches toss in a kaleidoscope of butterflies, a clew of worms, a paddle of ducks, and many more.

An offbeat blend of education and mayhem, themed just right for Halloween. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-8-181903-60-0

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests.

THE LOST STONE

From the The Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 1

A lonely prince gains a friend for a quest to find a missing jewel.

Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could possibly want—except a friend. His father has forbidden him to play with the village children for reasons of propriety. Adventure-seeking Lucas acquires peasant clothes to masquerade as a commoner and make friends, but he is caught out. His mother, the queen, persuades the king to allow him one friend: Clara, the daughter of her personal dressmaker. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, Lucas and Clara set off to find it. They follow the jewel as it changes hands, interviewing each temporary owner. Their adventure cleverly introduces the series’ world and peoples, taking the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard island of Hobsgrove and finally Mermaid’s Cove. By befriending the mermaids, Lucas and Clara finally recover the jewel. In thanks, the king gives Clara a horse of her own so that she may ride with Lucas on their future adventures. The third-person narration is generally unobtrusive, allowing the characters to take center stage. The charming, medieval-flavored illustrations set the fairy-tale scene and take up enough page space that new and reluctant readers won’t be overwhelmed by text.

 A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9691-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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When Fred leaves his parents for the first time, his plans to be a ferocious dragon hit a snag. First Mrs. Green, the frog,...

A POOR EXCUSE FOR A DRAGON

Fred learns how to be true to himself and still be a dragon.

When Fred leaves his parents for the first time, his plans to be a ferocious dragon hit a snag. First Mrs. Green, the frog, mocks his roar as being like a meow, so, though Fred is supposed to eat humans, he gobbles her in one gulp. The princess thinks Fred’s fire looks like a candle, and a tiny bird is not afraid of him. They too meet in Fred’s tummy. Turns out, three’s a crowd for Fred’s stomach, and his intestinal pain leads him a solution that works for him and his crowd of helpers and new friends. Designed to encourage confident reading, the story alternates between long pages of text and highly illustrated pages with few words. Cartoon illustrations, especially details like the dragon’s red eyes and the giant’s warts and earring, help the newly independent reader follow the story, providing lots of visual cues which add the humor. When human John Little voluntarily walks into Fred’s open mouth and extricates his complaining contents, the illustrations turn energetic, with flying critters filling the air. New readers will love the humorous pictures and stay for the engaging tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-87180-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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