Mystery and history dance a mesmerizing waltz in this poignant, thoroughly entertaining novel that shows how “[t]he past...

THE CHILDREN OF THE KING

No matter how far north of London the Lockwoods travel, they can’t escape the ravages of World War II.

Twelve-year-old Cecily Lockwood isn’t happy to leave her revered father behind in London, but she’s secretly thrilled she and her older brother, Jeremy, are bound for Heron Hall, her uncle Peregrine’s lovely country manor. At the train station, they convince their mother to take in a 10-year-old London evacuee named May Bright, who, to Cecily’s delight, becomes a sort of sister to her, though (less delightful for bossy Cecily) she’s “prone to bouts of independence.” Through her likable, vividly wrought characters, Hartnett respectfully captures the depth and ferocity of childhood. The poetic descriptions of the girls’ rural wanderings are to be savored like the best tea and biscuits, but the masterful lyricism never slows the suspenseful story of Cecily and May’s discovery of two “horrid boys” in velvet jackets, hiding among nearby castle ruins…or the rising tension between Jeremy and his mother as he battles his sense of helplessness as others fight the war. Uncle Peregrine tells a 450-year-old story whose themes are curiously relevant to World War II England…perhaps even to the be-velveted boys-in-hiding.

Mystery and history dance a mesmerizing waltz in this poignant, thoroughly entertaining novel that shows how “[t]he past lives everywhere.” (Historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6735-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American...

DUST OF EDEN

Crystal-clear prose poems paint a heart-rending picture of 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa’s journey from Seattle to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

This vividly wrought story of displacement, told from Mina’s first-person perspective, begins as it did for so many Japanese-Americans: with the bombs dropping on Pearl Harbor. The backlash of her Seattle community is instantaneous (“Jap, Jap, Jap, the word bounces / around the walls of the hall”), and Mina chronicles its effects on her family with a heavy heart. “I am an American, I scream / in my head, but my mouth is stuffed / with rocks; my body is a stone, like the statue / of a little Buddha Grandpa prays to.” When Roosevelt decrees that West Coast Japanese-Americans are to be imprisoned in inland camps, the Tagawas board up their house, leaving the cat, Grandpa’s roses and Mina’s best friend behind. Following the Tagawas from Washington’s Puyallup Assembly Center to Idaho’s Minidoka Relocation Center (near the titular town of Eden), the narrative continues in poems and letters. In them, injustices such as endless camp lines sit alongside even larger ones, such as the government’s asking interned young men, including Mina’s brother, to fight for America.

An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American internment. (historical note) (Verse/historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1739-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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