Historical photos and Indiana Jones–style adventure enrich this tale of an unusual meeting between the Qin Dynasty and the...

READ REVIEW

SECRETS OF THE TERRA-COTTA SOLDIER

Ancient China literally comes alive to expose buried treasures in this novel co-written by Ying Chang Compestine (Crouching Tiger, 2011, etc.) and her son, Vinson.

Under Maoist rule, Ming lives in a village with b? ba, his father, an archaeologist who works for the museum in Xi’an and who is on the verge of losing his job. When reward-seeking farmers bring Ming newly unearthed head and limb fragments fashioned from clay, Ming discovers the artifacts have much to reveal. The clay head begins to speak, claiming to be Shí, one of thousands of terra-cotta soldiers created to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin, the ruthless leader who built the Great Wall of China. As Shí tells Ming stories of his life in battle, they become fast friends. They embark on a mission to save the tomb from corrupt government officials and to save Ming’s father from being sent to harsh labor camps. Shí’s brutal war stories tend to overshadow aspects of Ming’s personal story, like Ming’s relationship with his father, but they are compelling nonetheless. Although Ming’s acceptance of a talking statue feels swift, their friendship is believable. They hail from different eras, but they share a common desire: to keep their parents safe.

Historical photos and Indiana Jones–style adventure enrich this tale of an unusual meeting between the Qin Dynasty and the 20th century. (glossary, authors’ note, recipe, authors Q&A) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0540-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

THE CONSPIRACY

From the Plot to Kill Hitler series , Vol. 1

Near the end of World War II, two kids join their parents in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

Max, 12, lives with his parents and his older sister in a Berlin that’s under constant air bombardment. During one such raid, a mortally wounded man stumbles into the white German family’s home and gasps out his last wish: “The Führer must die.” With this nighttime visitation, Max and Gerta discover their parents have been part of a resistance cell, and the siblings want in. They meet a colorful band of upper-class types who seem almost too whimsical to be serious. Despite her charming levity, Prussian aristocrat and cell leader Frau Becker is grimly aware of the stakes. She enlists Max and Gerta as couriers who sneak forged identification papers to Jews in hiding. Max and Gerta are merely (and realistically) cogs in the adults’ plans, but there’s plenty of room for their own heroism. They escape capture, rescue each other when they’re caught out during an air raid, and willingly put themselves repeatedly at risk to catch a spy. The fictional plotters—based on a mix of several real anti-Hitler resistance cells—are portrayed with a genuine humor, giving them the space to feel alive even in such a slim volume.

It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35902-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more