Fans of Brian Jacques's Redwall doorstoppers will hear echoes in this animal fantasy, although Avi (Poppy and Rye, p. 808, etc.) not only has the vegetarians attacking the carnivores, but throws in other clever twists too. A mild-mannered, rabbit-like Montmer, Perloo is drawn away from his books when the dying Montmer "granter" dubs him her successor. When the seat of power is instantly usurped by the granter's son Berwig the Big and his greasy advisor Senyous the Sly, Perloo is forced to flee to the coyote-like Felbarts, traditional enemies against whom Berwig has proclaimed a war to cement his position. Amid a welter of captures and escapes, Perloo's doughty ally Lucabara gathers her friends for an uprising at home, Berwig and Senyous reveal the depths of their stupidity and villainy, and Perloo discovers that the Felbarts aren't so bad. When the rival armies finally meet, Perloo faces Senyous in single combat. Drawing on his one martial skill, Perloo defeats Senyous with a barrage of snowballs, after which the cowardly Berwig renounces his grantership, and Perloo, declaring that henceforth all Montmer decisions will he made collectively, does too. For all the soldiers and warlike behavior here, the story is free of bloodshed, and if the characters are less robust than Redwall's stars, they're also less typecast. Perhaps inevitably, there are plenty of loose ends to tie up in a sequel.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-590-11002-0

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.


From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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An enthralling fantasy adventure full of bravery, love, and humor.


A Black girl embarks on an unprecedented journey to tap deeper into her magic.

Ella Durand is an 11-year-old from New Orleans, where she lives with her conjure-politician father, notorious Conjuror mother, grandmother, and little sister, Winnie. Ella makes history as the first Conjuror to be accepted into the Arcanum Training Institute, where she can learn to become a Marveller. Ella is eager to discover her marvel and to find out more about a type of magic so different from what she has grown up with, but integrating into this new school turns out to be harder than she hoped. Fortunately, she makes new friends, Jason and Brigit, who help her better navigate life at the school. After Ella’s family becomes embroiled in controversy due to allegations of their connection to an infamous escaped criminal and her teacher and mentor, Masterji Thakur, goes missing, she needs her friends’ help to help set things right. Clayton does a wonderful job with skillful worldbuilding that is bolstered by vivid, detailed descriptions and smart, witty prose, and readers will be swept up in the magic. The novel celebrates the diverse peoples and customs that make up Ella’s world. Parallels between the world of the Marvellers and real-world history around discrimination, privilege, marginalization, and stereotyping are clear without being heavy-handed. A charming cast and captivating storylines make this a breath of fresh air.

An enthralling fantasy adventure full of bravery, love, and humor. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-17494-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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