Only the most passionate of princess devotees will fall head-over-heels for this one.

CORDIALLY UNINVITED

A junior bridesmaid’s work is never done.

Eleven-year-old Claire has been dutifully hiding the fact that she is a cousin and fast friend to Belle, the commoner who is soon to wed the Prince of England. As the wedding date approaches, the secret is revealed, and Claire and her mother are whisked off to England so that Claire can fulfill her role as junior bridesmaid in the wedding. Once in London, Claire discovers that there is something fishy going on involving a fellow junior bridesmaid called Pandora—a young girl clearly infatuated with the Prince—and her great-aunt Cornelia. Cornelia may or may not be a witch who has cursed the Prince’s relationship with Belle. The text is peppered with letters between Claire and Belle and text conversations between Claire and her friend Evie from back home as well as her new London buddies. Claire is likable enough, and readers will enjoy making the inevitable connection between Belle and real-life Kate Middleton, but the relationship between too-perfect Belle and her much younger, much more ordinary cousin doesn’t ring true. Furthermore, the plot twists, such as they are, feel thin and forced, and the story limps along to a forgone conclusion.

Only the most passionate of princess devotees will fall head-over-heels for this one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3920-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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The second installment in this spirited series is a hit.

WAYS TO GROW LOVE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 2

A new baby coming means Ryan has lots of opportunities to grow love.

Ryan has so much to look forward to this summer—she is going to be a big sister, and she finally gets to go to church camp! But new adventures bring challenges, too. Ryan feels like the baby is taking forever to arrive, and with Mom on bed rest, she isn’t able to participate in the family’s typical summer activities. Ryan’s Dad is still working the late shift, which means he gets home and goes to bed when she and her older brother, Ray, are waking up, so their quality daddy-daughter time is limited to one day a week. When the time for camp finally arrives, Ryan is so worried about bugs, ghosts, and sharing a cabin that she wonders if she should go at all. Watson’s heroine is smart and courageous, bringing her optimistic attitude to any challenge she faces. Hard topics like family finances and complex relationships with friends are discussed in an age-appropriate way. Watson continues to excel at crafting a sense of place; she transports readers to Portland, Oregon, with an attention to detail that can only come from someone who has loved that city. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and occasional illustrations by Mata spotlight their joy and make this book shine.

The second installment in this spirited series is a hit. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0058-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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