Fluffy, wholesome and, well, sparkly.

AUTUMN'S SECRET GIFT

From the Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters series , Vol. 1

A new, sparkle-packed series introduces magical sisters who control the seasons.

Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer are the Sparkles, the magical sisters with themed Sparkle Powers who change the seasons for the Outworlder humans through the Sparkle Ceremony. Autumn’s the most responsible and cautious of the four, the least likely to join a game of Sparkle-Dare, so it’s natural for Mother Nature to ask Autumn to be caretaker for a special birthday gift (a beautiful blanket) for her adviser, Serenity. But when Autumn tries to break out of her mold by joining in a game of Sparkle-Dare, she accidentally summons an uncontrollable wind that blows away the precious blanket. The sisters chase it through Winter’s Sparkledom, where they encounter the villainous Sleet. Sleet is one of the Weeds, a troublemaking set of bad-weather– and natural-disaster–themed brothers. The sisters defeat him and continue to chase the blanket throughout the Sparkledoms, only to lose it to Sleet’s tricky brother, Twister. The Weeds use it to set a trap for the Sparkles, but their inability to work as a team, plus Autumn’s lesson in discretion—determining when to leap impulsively and when to stop and plan—saves the day for the Sparkles. The blanket safely arrives at the birthday party, as do the villains—but as welcome guests. Cheerful spot illustrations showcase an ever smiling, diverse cartoon cast. The sheer number of iterations of “Sparkle” will determine this book’s audience.

Fluffy, wholesome and, well, sparkly. (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-256-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Hopefully future installments will carry some substance.

THE TRIPLETS GET CHARMED

From the Trillium Sisters series , Vol. 1

An origin story for mysterious, magical triplets.

Eight-year-old triplets Emmy, Clare, and Giselle celebrate Founding Day—the day their veterinarian father, Dr. J.A., found them—instead of a birthday. Each girl has a baby animal pet (bear cub Claw, wolf pup Fluffy, and eaglet Soar), feels a special connection to trillium flowers for their three petals, and is indistinguishable from her sisters aside from occasional telling-not-showing characterization and illustrations that render Giselle as a girl of color while the rest of the family presents White. On their eighth Founding Day, their father, upset to see that the trillium patch where he first found his daughters has been uprooted, diverges from their traditions to replant the flowers and to reveal that there’s more to the original Founding Day story than he’s told them. Back then, a large trillium flower glowed before bursting into sparkles and leaving trillium petal charms behind that Dr. J.A. now gives to the girls. Later, when Emmy and their younger brother, Zee, go to pick strawberries, Zee falls into a river. The triplets work together to try to save him, but it isn’t enough until the charms activate, giving the girls superpowers and new outfits, and making their pets huge. Although the woodsy setting (especially their treehouse home) and animals charm, the blandness of both characters and plot falls short of magical. In the simultaneously releasing sequel, Bestie Day, freed from the burden of expository backstory, the plot (a White bully and her subservient, Asian-presenting best friend endanger bees by cutting too many wildflowers) gets moving faster but offers only marginal improvements.

Hopefully future installments will carry some substance. (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64595-014-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Pixel+Ink

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Earwig, as a spunky as any Jones heroine, keeps young and old readers chuckling through sadness at an era's end

EARWIG AND THE WITCH

A cunning heroine learns magic in Jones' last, posthumous offering.

Most children hate orphanages, but Earwig—Erica Wigg, according to her birth certificate—loves hers. Earwig manages people to perfection, and everyone at Saint Morwald's Home for Children does exactly what Earwig wants, whether it's making her a shepherd's pie or buying her a new red sweater. She's excellent at making herself unlovable to potential foster parents so they'll leave her alone in sunny St. Morwald's. But a terrible new pair of prospective parents arrives at the home: nasty-faced Bella Yaga and the Mandrake, a ridiculously tall man who seems to have horns. Bella Yaga and the Mandrake cart Earwig off, willy-nilly, to powder rats' bones and cook breakfast. Indomitable Earwig determines that if she must work for a smelly witch, at least she'll learn magic. But how to do so when wicked Bella Yaga keeps threatening to give her worms? Moreover, no matter what, Earwig has been warned not to disturb the Mandrake, who trucks with demons. Earwig, illustrated with marvelous vitality by Zelinsky, is not to be trifled with. There's just the right level of grotesquerie and scariness (worms that are "blue and purple and very wriggly") in this utterly charming chapter book.

Earwig, as a spunky as any Jones heroine, keeps young and old readers chuckling through sadness at an era's end . (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-207511-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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