A very welcome series revival.

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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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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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Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

DANGER! TIGER CROSSING

From the Fantastic Frame series , Vol. 1

Two kids get up close and personal with some great works of art in this first in a new series.

Tiger Brooks is used to his little sister’s fantastical stories. So when the top-hatted orange pig she describes turns out to be not only real, but a next-door neighbor, Tiger enlists the help of his kooky new friend, Luna, to investigate. It turns out the pig works for the reclusive painter Viola Dots. Years ago a magical picture frame swallowed up her only son, and she’s searched for him in artworks ever since. When Tiger’s tinkering starts the magic up again, he and Luna are sucked into a reproduction of Henri Rousseau’s Surprised! or Tiger in a Tropical Storm, hungry predator and all. After meeting and failing to rescue Viola’s son in this adventure, the series is set up for the intrepid pair to infiltrate other classic paintings in the future. Backmatter provides information on the real Rousseau and his life. Oliver keeps the plot itself snappy and peppy. While there are few surprises, there’s also an impressive lack of lag time. This is helped in no small part by Kallis’ art, which goes from pen-and-ink drawings to full-blown color images once the kids cross over into the painting. Tiger is a white boy, and Luna is a dark-haired Latina.

Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-448-48087-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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