Full of magical adventure and heart.

HOOKY

Twin witches and their friends encounter magic and mishaps in this story based on a popular WEBTOON series.

When 12-year-old witch twins Dorian and Dani Wytte miss the bus on the first day of school, it’s only the beginning of their troubles; the bus has teleported to a secret location. Not wanting to fess up to the mishap, the siblings head to their Aunt Hilde’s in hopes that she’ll be their tutor for the year and not tell their parents what happened. Instead, they uncover a plot by a community of evil witches to take power. Together with new friends, including a soothsayer, a princess, and some town kids, the twins—now suspected of being traitors—must prove their innocence and get to the bottom of everything. The central conflict plays with the ideas of good and evil as well as biases and assumptions. Many of the large cast of characters grapple with self-doubts and questions of self-worth. All the young protagonists have something to prove, and together they begin to grow. Tur’s episodic and fast-paced plotting plus a cliffhanger ending will keep readers engaged and itching for the next volume. The energetic, manga-style art matches the energy of the characters, and the dramatic color palette adds to the strong sense of this witchy world. The panel-breaking compositions are fun and support the pacing. All major characters present White.

Full of magical adventure and heart. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-46830-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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The young folk and (of course) the animals are engagingly wrought in this tale with a strong ecological message.

WILLODEEN

An orphan loner’s small town faces a hard future after it unwittingly disrupts a natural cycle.

Willodeen is lucky that elderly retired thespians Mae and Birdie took her in after the wildfire that killed her parents and brother, not only because they’re a loving couple, but because they let her roam the woods in search of increasingly rare screechers—creatures so vile-tempered and stinky that the village elders of Perchance have put a bounty on them. The elders have other worries, though: The migratory hummingbears that have long nested in the area, drawing tourists to the lucrative annual Autumn Faire, have likewise nearly vanished. Could there be a connection? If there is, Willodeen is just the person to find it—but who would believe her? Applegate’s characters speak in pronouncements about life and nature that sometimes seem to address readers more than other characters, but the winsome illustrations lighten the thematic load. Screechers appear much like comically fierce warthogs and hummingbears, as small teddies with wings. Applegate traces a burgeoning friendship between her traumatized protagonist and Connor, a young artist who turns found materials into small animals so realistic that one actually comes to life. In the end, the townsfolk do listen and pitch in to make amends. Red-haired, gray-eyed Willodeen is cued as White; Connor has brown skin, and other human characters read as White by default.

The young folk and (of course) the animals are engagingly wrought in this tale with a strong ecological message. (Eco-fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14740-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action.

THE SILVER ARROW

The best birthday present is a magical train full of talking animals—and a new job.

On Kate’s 11th birthday, she’s surprised by the arrival of rich Uncle Herbert. Uncle Herbert bears a gift: a train. Not a toy train, a 102.36-ton steam engine, with cars that come later. When Kate and her brother, Tom, both white, play in the cab of the Silver Arrow, the train starts up, zooming to a platform packed with animals holding tickets. Thus begins Kate and Tom’s hard work: They learn to conduct the train and feed the fire box, instructed by the Silver Arrow, which speaks via printed paper tape. The Silver Arrow is a glorious playground: The library car is chockablock with books while the candy car is brimful of gobstoppers and gummy bears. But amid the excitement of whistle-blowing and train conducting, Kate and Tom learn quiet messages from their animal friends. Some species, like gray squirrels and starlings, are “invaders.” The too-thin polar bear’s train platform has melted, leaving it almost drowned. Their new calling is more than just feeding the coal box—they need to find a new balance in a damaged world. “Feeling guilty doesn’t help anything,” the mamba tells them. Humans have survived so effectively they’ve taken over the world; now, he says, “you just have to take care of it.” (Illustrations not seen.)

Both cozy and inspiring, this eco-fable conveys both grim truths and a defiant call to action. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53953-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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