Fiery farts and burps included—who needs more? (Fantasy. 6-9)


From the There's a Dragon in… series

How much trouble can one tiny dragon be? Apparently loads.

Eric’s turning 9 soon, and all he has to do to get his dream gift of a scooter is to avoid incurring three strikes before his birthday party. Staying out of trouble should have been fairly easy, but in their Chinese takeout, delivered by Eric’s classmate Min Song from her family’s restaurant, is a surprise order of bean sprouts. Even more surprising is the talking, eggroll-sized dragon in the bean sprouts. Pan the Mini-Dragon had been on his way to Mexico to live with his aunt and uncle, but he’s ended up in the United States instead. After Pan’s disastrous flying demonstration earns Eric a first strike, Eric tries to keep the little guy secret—but annoying, rich neighbor Toby soon discovers Pan and thinks he’s a high-tech toy. With Min’s help, Eric learns a bit about Mini-Dragons from the Encyclopaedia Dragonica, but will it be enough to keep Pan secret? Their adventures are just beginning. This British series opener (There’s a Dragon in My Backpack! publishes simultaneously in the U.S., and there are several more out in the U.K.) has been smoothly Americanized with only a couple translational blips. Chapter-book readers looking for a bit of silly adventure will likely enjoy this fluffy tale of friendship. Eric and his family present white, as does Toby; Min is Chinese, and Eric’s best friend, Jayden, presents black.

Fiery farts and burps included—who needs more? (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-444-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...


From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic.


Sisters venture into the secret Enchanted Realm to help a unicorn foal.

The Enchanted Realm is kept secret to protect unicorns from humans; only the Unicorn Guardians (always two little girls) have keys to the Magic Gate. The current guardians are sisters Iris and Ruby, who have newly inherited the keys from their mother and aunt. The sisters are excited for the first birth of a unicorn foal since they took over. But when the foal’s mother, Heartsong, doesn’t return from the Fairy Forest (where unicorns birth), the two must venture in to find out what’s wrong. Heartsong is trapped by maze weed, a magic plant that quickly becomes a leafy labyrinth around them. Luckily (if inexplicably), Heartsong’s foal is on the outside of the maze and helps them find their way (extremely easily) by creating magical stars, and thus is dubbed Starsong. Though Heartsong doesn’t want to leave the forest, she obeys the girls. The next day, Heartsong’s agitation to get back to the forest prompts the realization that she likely had twins, so the girls return to rescue the missing twin from mild but inventive peril. The magic is as kid friendly as the large type and short sentences. Picturesque settings and attractive equines populate the black-and-white illustrations, which depict the girls as white. The book’s strongest element is characterization: Younger Ruby’s bolder while responsible Iris must actively decide to face her fears and plan how to succeed. The next three series titles (Unicorn Uncovered, Stolen Magic, and The Red Key) publish simultaneously.

Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63163-391-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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