A zany, over-the-top romp in the woods.

WANDA SEASONGOOD AND THE ALMOST PERFECT LIE

From the Wanda Seasongood series , Vol. 2

A misplaced sibling means more fantastical adventures for a girl just trying to do her best.

Newly 11-year-old Wanda is about to set off on another adventure into the Scary Wood, accompanied by her talking bluebird companion who fancies himself to be his namesake—Voltaire. Now that a spell has been lifted from her family, as recounted in Wanda Seasongood and the Mostly True Secret (2020), it’s revealed that she has an older sister named Wren, who’s being held captive by the evil witch Raymunda. Wanda was so small when Wren was taken that she doesn’t remember her, but that won’t stop Wanda from going to save her despite her parents’ blunt lack of faith in her capabilities. As before, “there’s no right or wrong way” in the Wood, since “they all lead to trouble.” Wanda and Voltaire face off against trolls, a giant, a banshee, fairies, a pooka, and the returning Royal Prince Frog, who pesters likely contenders for a kiss, all while avoiding Raymunda and her equally witchy sons. Structured much like Wanda’s first adventure, the episodic story features all the standard tropes of a fairy tale for modern sentimentalities. Lurie’s narrative is heavy-handed at times, emphasizing the ridiculousness of said tropes for comedic effect. Fairies and the witch family are multiracial while Wanda’s family presents white, with Wanda sporting bushy red hair, freckles, and brown glasses.

A zany, over-the-top romp in the woods. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04322-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

more