This inventive, modern fairy-tale adventure is sprinkled with wry humor.

WANDA SEASONGOOD AND THE MOSTLY TRUE SECRET

From the Wanda Seasongood series , Vol. 1

Wanda’s 11th birthday begins with a bluebird flying smack into her bedroom window, and then it gets worse.

Wanda always tries to be kind and helpful. Still, her parents chastise her and praise Zane, her horrible beast of a younger brother, no matter what happens, even when he spits peas at her across the dinner table. Every birthday she wishes to suddenly become an orphan. It turns out that the bluebird, named Voltaire, has a secret message to deliver, but he cannot remember it. On a journey to learn what it is, the two go into the Scary Wood among all sorts of creatures who wish her ill (and frequently almost succeed in doing it). Amid many magical mishaps, transfigurative perils, and a smooch-obsessed frog, Wanda hopes to discover her “true” family. The text is well constructed, containing odd scraps sewn together into an imaginative story quilt. There’s a supernatural cast chock-full of familiar types in fiendishly new forms, such as the Groods, chimerically composed of various flora and fauna. Wanda is by turns charmingly flabbergasted and persistently practical but ever well meaning; readers are sure to root for her along the journey. Textual descriptions combine with Harney’s cartoon illustrations to establish a largely white cast; in a welcome twist for a genre that too often racializes evil, the dreadful witch has “creamy” skin.

This inventive, modern fairy-tale adventure is sprinkled with wry humor. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04315-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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