From the Witches of Brooklyn series , Vol. 2

Stellar comedic timing and whimsy galore combine in this magical friendship story.

A humorous, magical romp about a modern-day apprentice witch who is struggling to be a good friend.

Effie, a young apprentice witch, is back in the sequel to Witches of Brooklyn (2020). In her first outing, Effie learned she was a witch and began figuring out her magical powers. Now Effie learns more about the caring witching community and helps them create a clever solution to a cursed neighborhood intersection. Effie also works through friendship woes, kicked off by the appearance of Garance, a new French girl at school. Is Garance the source of all Effie’s problems, or could she possibly be a part of the solution? At its heart a relationship story, this modern fantasy with a realistic setting is lighthearted and whimsical. Humor and emotion are conveyed through dialogue using a wide variety of typefaces. The comedic timing of sequential panels is especially strong, creating mini-episodes within larger chapters. The characters’ specificity, from their facial expressions to apparel, adds even more humor, and the witches are delightfully diverse in body shape, skin color, gender presentation, profession, and more. While this title works as a stand-alone, the story is much richer when experienced as a sequel. In the previous title, visual elements hinted at Effie’s Asian/White heritage. Garance is Black; Effie’s lesbian aunts read as White, and secondary characters represent the diversity of New York City.

Stellar comedic timing and whimsy galore combine in this magical friendship story. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12544-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House Graphic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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