A very welcome series revival.

SPRITE'S SECRET

From the Pixie Tricks series , Vol. 1

The early-aughts Pixie Tricks series, about using trickery to catch mischievous pixies, is back, lightly massaged, for a new generation of readers.

When her favorite marble is stolen by a toad, 8-year-old Violet Briggs’ pursuit leads her to an encounter with a fairy named Sprite. Sprite, a Royal Pixie Tricker, needs her help to find the 14 troublemaking fairies who escaped the Otherworld to make mayhem in Violet’s world. The first fairy they go after is fun-loving Pix, who makes even the most responsible adult abandon anything but the desire to play—forever! The ensuing chaos is delightfully funny, and Violet must use her brains to stop him. The fresh, friendly new illustrations of this edition factor heavily in the seamlessly child-centered book design. Besides breaking up the text with images (so as not to intimidate young readers with text blocks), the illustrations are thoughtfully placed to fit the exact moment they occur in the story, working exceptionally well when the art crosses a double-page spread. Just like the short chapters and simple vocabulary, the text blocks’ avoidance of hyphenated words at line ends or sentences that carry over to the next page keeps the book easily digestible for its emergent-reader audience. The inviting format and zany fun of the plot will leave readers excited for the next installment. Violet is White, and Sprite is green; human characters of color appear in the background.

A very welcome series revival. (questions and activities) (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-62778-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.

MAGIC CANDIES

A child finds connection to the world all around in this Korean import.

The illustrations in this unusual picture book achieve a 3-D effect reminiscent of claymation. The opening scene shows an aerial view of a playground scattered with maple and gingko leaves; a tethered dog watches a child aiming at marbles. Accustomed to spending time alone and solitary play, Tong Tong’s fertile imagination infuses a bag of assorted spherical hard candies with powers that give voice to unlikely speakers, such as the living room sofa and Marbles the old dog, each speaking with Tong Tong to share a sentient perspective. The hard candies also channel the tough love hidden within Tong Tong’s father and Grandma’s bubbly, reassuring voice emanating from another realm. The candies’ magic reveals yet another dimension when Tong Tong is drawn outdoors to witness nature’s beauty as copious falling leaves bid farewell to the season. Through these uncanny exchanges, Tong Tong not only makes surprising discoveries, but also delves into complex emotions, celebrates a continuing relationship with Grandma, and takes courageous steps toward a tantalizing conclusion. The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective, featuring details some may find initially unsettling—along with the cryptic, open-ended narrative. That said, depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder.

An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2959-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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