A gloriously fresh story to be read with a steaming cup of chocolate at hand.

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THE DRAGON WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART

Aventurine is tired of being treated like a baby hatchling.

The young dragon dreams of exploring the world, but her mother wants her safe at home reading books and finding her passion. When Aventurine flies away from the mountain to prove she’s fierce enough to take care of herself, she picks up a tantalizingly sweet scent that leads her to the source of the wonderful smell: chocolate. There’s a human, too, whom Aventurine plans to eat. He gives her a cup of hot melty chocolate, and Aventurine’s life changes with one enchanted sip. The bad news: Aventurine is now a vulnerable 12-year-old human girl. The good news: she’s found her passion—chocolate, of course—and she’s going to apprentice herself to a chocolatier. With the help of Silke, a black girl in men’s clothing, the unstoppable Aventurine, who still sees the world as a dragon does, finds her way to the Chocolate Heart and its proprietor, the golden-skinned Marina, a hot-tempered, uncompromising master chocolatier. As apprentice, Aventurine is launched on a new course, one on which she finds the strength to align her dragon and human selves while making chocolate that just might save the kingdom from some fiery enemies. Aventurine’s human self is apparently white, but the cast of secondary characters is diverse: Marina’s business partner is a black man, and the pink-skinned king has two brown-skinned daughters.

A gloriously fresh story to be read with a steaming cup of chocolate at hand. (Fantasy. 8-14)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-343-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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