Certain to give readers the warm fuzzies



Gabriella and Renphlegena (Phleg for short) are two very different girls from vastly different worlds.

Gabriella is an only child, Phleg is one of 12; Gabriella is quiet and well-mannered, Phleg is loud and uncouth; Gabriella has excellent diplomacy skills and Phleg can communicate with animals; Gabriella has long dark hair, Phleg’s hair is short and iridescent silver; Gabriella is a human princess and Phleg is a fairy commoner. Their two worlds collide when Phleg makes a bet with her siblings that she can last three days as a changeling in the human world. As the story opens she’s already used her magic to trade places with the unsuspecting Princess Gabriella of Fairhaven. For the first time, Phleg doesn’t have to do chores or supervise her 11 noisy siblings, while Gabriella must do Phleg’s work. As high jinks ensue on both sides, each girl learns something valuable about herself. Among the fairies, Gabriella is not required to be a weak princess; she’s expected to speak up for herself. Meanwhile, Phleg allows her tough exterior to soften. Phleg provides readers with a fresh perspective on the absurdities of human propriety, while Gabriella is the frame through which readers become acquainted with fairy life and customs. The humorous third-person narration alternates between Phleg and Gabriella. Neither the human nor the fairy world appears to be racially diverse, and Phleg is depicted with a peach complexion on the cover.

Certain to give readers the warm fuzzies . (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-12147-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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


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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From the Moon Base Alpha series , Vol. 1

When Dr. Holtz’s body is discovered just outside the lunar colony, everyone assumes he made a mistake putting on his spacesuit—but 12-year-old Dashiell “Dash” Gibson has reason to believe this was no accident.

Earth’s first space base has been a living hell for Dash. There’s not much to do on the moon besides schoolwork and virtual-reality gaming, and there’s only a handful of kids his age up there with him. The chance to solve a murder is exactly the type of excitement Dash needs. As clues are found and secrets are uncovered, Dash comes to understand that some of the base’s residents aren’t what they seem to be. With a small cast of characters supplying an excellent variety of suspects, Gibbs creates the best kind of “murder on a train” mystery. The genius, however, is putting the train in space. Closed quarters and techno–mumbo-jumbo add delightful color to the proceedings. Thankfully, the author doesn’t let the high-concept setting overshadow the novel’s mystery. The whodunit is smartly paced and intricately plotted. Best of all, the reveal is actually worth all the buildup. Thrillers too often fly off the rails in their final moments, but the author’s steady hand keeps everything here on track.

Fully absorbing. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9486-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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