Anti-princess Sofia, her friends, and their adventures will amuse and delight readers.

THE PRINCESS WHO FLEW WITH DRAGONS

Princess Sofia flies off on her own adventures.

Six months after the close of The Girl With the Dragon Heart (2018), Princess Sofia of Drachenheim (a secondary character in Burgis’ previous books set in Drachenheim) is forced to attend the Diamond Exhibition in far off Villenne. The bad: leaving the safety and comfort of home, a two-day flight in a dragon-lofted carriage, and playing the polite princess upon arrival. The good: Sofia immediately offends the king and queen of Villene, leading to unexpected freedom to disguise herself as a university student, attend a lecture by her favorite philosopher, and explore the city. First-person narration makes Sofia’s privilege obvious, just as it does her journey of growth through self-reflection and friendship with goblin and kobold immigrants. When the ice giants of the north feel threatened by the weapons and intentions on display at the exhibition, it’s up to hot-tempered Sofia and friends to save the day, and Sofia finds her un–princess-y characteristics can be an asset. As in the other books in the series, Burgis deals with issues as serious as privilege, immigration, and identity in a manner that is both honest and free of didacticism. Characters are a range of skin tones, from pale to brown to green to white; Sofia herself has brown skin.

Anti-princess Sofia, her friends, and their adventures will amuse and delight readers. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0207-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror.

THE ICKABOG

Rowling buffs up a tale she told her own children about a small, idyllic kingdom nearly destroyed by corrupt officials.

In the peaceful land of Cornucopia, the Ickabog has always been regarded as a legendary menace until two devious nobles play so successfully on the fears of naïve King Fred the Fearless that the once-prosperous land is devastated by ruinous taxes supposedly spent on defense while protesters are suppressed and the populace is terrorized by nighttime rampages. Pastry chef Bertha Beamish organizes a breakout from the local dungeon just as her son, Bert, and his friend Daisy Dovetail arrive…with the last Ickabog, who turns out to be real after all. Along with full plates of just deserts for both heroes and villains, the story then dishes up a metaphorical lagniappe in which the monster reveals the origins of the human race. The author frames her story as a set of ruminations on how evil can grow and people can come to believe unfounded lies. She embeds these themes in an engrossing, tightly written adventure centered on a stomach-wrenching reign of terror. The story features color illustrations by U.S. and Canadian children selected through an online contest. Most characters are cued as White in the text; a few illustrations include diverse representation.

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-73287-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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