SOMETHING WICKEDLY WEIRD

THE WOODEN MILE

A prolific British illustrator makes a rare foray across the pond with this faintly Gothic series opener. Eleven-year-old Stanley is amazed to learn that he’s inherited an old mansion in Crampton Rock—a distant seaside town whose residents turn out to include a candy-store owner who changes into a werewolf every night, a trio of menacing (if ineffectual pirates) and a supposedly dead pike that utters cryptic warnings. Fortunately, Stanley is a clever, doughty lad, well capable of blasting the werewolf with a silver bullet, tricking the pirates into barrels and weathering other challenges with just occasional help from adult allies. Mould adds plenty of comically ghoulish ink drawings and silhouettes to his fluently written tale, and sets up a continuing plotline that leads to encounters with a decapitated ghost and more pirates in the next episode, The Icy Hand (ISBN: 978-159643-385-4, also September). Fine fare for fans of the likes of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s Far-Flung Adventures series or Philip Ardagh’s Eddie Dickens trilogy. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-383-0

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2008

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SKULLDUGGERY

THE BLOODWATER MYSTERIES

After their successful sleuthing in Snatched (2006), Brian Bain and Roni Delicata are ready to solve more mysteries in their little town of Bloodwater. Fred Bloodwater, a real-estate developer, is planning on building condominiums on Indian Bluff, but Brian and Roni believe a local professor’s assertion that there are important Native American remains in caves on the bluff. When the professor is beaten and left unconscious, the intrepid detectives are on the case. Who was responsible for the assault? The professor’s ex-fiancée? Fred Bloodwater’s cute (but stupid) teenage son? A skunk-cabbage-obsessed botanist? Moreover, Brian is sure he has seen the Native American remains, in the form of a now-missing skull the professor called “Yorick.” This occasionally uneasy merger of realism and a more over-the-top Scooby Doo/Indiana Jones–style adventure can be jarring. Nevertheless, the adventures of these meddlesome junior sleuths, with the mystery’s tension cut by gentle humor, are quite entertaining. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-399-24378-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Sleuth/Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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STOLEN CHILDREN

Already feeling responsible for her father’s recent death, 14-year-old Amy takes a babysitting job for wealthy Mrs. Edgerton, and right off the bat she and her three-year-old charge Kendra are kidnapped. Taken to an abandoned cabin by two bumbling, small-time criminals, the girls are offered for ransom, but instead of sending notes, the kidnappers videotape the girls and send DVDs to the parents. However, Amy has the wherewithal to send coded messages in the tapes, and part of readers’ enjoyment is watching the filming and seeing if the parents can decode the messages. Kehret uses a third-person voice, allowing readers to follow the well-orchestrated actions of the various characters—kidnappers, hostages, parents, detectives, the nanny and other players who don’t even realize they are players. The story is fast-paced, plot-driven and involving, with comic relief provided by the captors’ fumbling machinations and little Kendra’s behavior. A sure hit for the intended audience. (Thriller. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-525-47835-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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