THE TRESPASSERS

Sixth-grader Neely Bradford and her little brother, Grub, are fascinated with Halcyon House, the abandoned 19th-century mansion near their Pacific coast home. There are rumors about the Hutchinson family who built the house; people say the place is haunted by the ghost of a girl. Imaginative Neely loves to entertain Grub by embellishing the tales with details of her own. When the children enter the house through an open window, and make a nursery full of wonderful old toys their private playroom, sensitive Grub seems to actually see and speak to the ghost. Then strange, nervous Curtis Hutchinson and his parents move back to the mansion, changing everything. Eerie foreboding weaves through this well-paced tale of two children absorbed with haunting questions about the past. Tension mounts to a convincing, hair-raising climax as the children return to the house again and again, unable to resist its mysterious appeal in spite of the growing sense of danger. Using Neely's imaginative point of view as a bridge, Snyder (Cat Running, 1994, etc.) successfully blends the supernatural with ordinary events, making this a book not only for fantasy fans but for readers who usually prefer realistic fiction. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-385-31055-2

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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MASTERPIECE

Eleven-year-old James Terik isn’t particularly appreciated in the Pompaday household. Marvin, a beetle who lives happily with his “smothering, overinvolved relatives” behind the Pompadays’ kitchen sink, has observed James closely and knows he’s something special even if the boy’s mother and stepfather don’t. Insect and human worlds collide when Marvin uses his front legs to draw a magnificent pen-and-ink miniature for James’s birthday. James is thrilled with his tiny new friend, but is horrified when his mother sees the beetle’s drawing and instantly wants to exploit her suddenly special son’s newfound talents. The web further tangles when the Metropolitan Museum of Art enlists James to help catch a thief by forging a miniature in the style of Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Delightful intricacies of beetle life—a cottonball bed, playing horseshoes with staples and toothpicks—blend seamlessly with the suspenseful caper as well as the sentimental story of a complicated-but-rewarding friendship that requires a great deal of frantic leg-wiggling on Marvin’s part. Murphy’s charming pen-and-ink drawings populate the short chapters of this funny, winsome novel. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8270-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008

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GOLDEN GATE

From the City Spies series , Vol. 2

The City Spies return.

Like any good spy thriller, this second adventure with MI6’s young secret agents begins in the middle of a perilous mission: Agents Brooklyn, 12, and Sydney, 14, are stealthily escorting two daughters of high-ranking Brits on an shipboard marine biology program for girls, which turns out to be good luck because the ship has just been boarded by Norwegian pirates who plan to kidnap them for ransom. Brooklyn and Sydney thwart them handily and return to Scotland, where they attend school under assumed names while continuing their spy training at a facility hidden inside a climate research station. Before MI6 can give them a new mission, the whole group—Puerto Rican Brooklyn (nee Sara Maria Martinez), Rwandan French Paris (ne Salomon Omborenga), White Australian Sydney (nee Olivia Rose), Nepali Kat (nee Amita Bishwakarma), and Brazilian Rio (ne João Cardozo)—accidentally stumble upon two new missions on their own. First, they help track down the long-lost children of their leader, fondly called Mother even though he’s a man, and then they figure out the true story behind the suspicious California death of a retired MI6 agent and ornithologist. Combining their skills in areas like math, hacking, and sneaking around, the prodigies traverse the Western hemisphere looking for clues. The thriller is well paced, the characters animated, and the adventure engaging.

A winner. (spy profiles) (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1494-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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