INTO THE DREAM

"Maybe we should call the police," Paul suggests. "And tell them what? That we're getting messages from a dog?" says Francine. Paul and Francine are seventh-grade classmates thrown together because they're both experiencing the same terrifying recurrent dream. It turns out too that they can communicate without words. But how so? Well, they trace their common experience to a Nevada motel-stay with divorcing mothers four years earlier, when a pregnant woman, there with her pregnant dog, encountered a flying saucer in the motel parking lot. Now the two offspring have even stronger ESP than Paul and Francine; Noah, the human child, also has psychokinetic powers, and Cookie, the dog, can see the future. That's why the two strange men are following all the children. They want Noah for their own ends (CIA skulduggery) and Paul and Francine must save him. They do, after the obligatory chase—through an amusement park, no less—that ends with Paul and Noah on a broken Ferris-wheel seat which Noah, to save them from crashing, sends floating off into the air and then gently down for a landing. "I expect that from now on you'll be dealing with scientists and doctors instead of secret agents," says the TV newsman who happened to be on the spot with cameras. Far-fetched, but fast-paced—kids with a taste for psi-fi fantasy won't stop to look down.

Pub Date: March 5, 1979

ISBN: 0141308141

Page Count: 127

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1979

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HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE

Sophie is caught between a powerful witch and wizard who are terrorizing the magical land of Ingary. Living a humdrum life as a hatter till the malicious Witch of the Waste casts a spell turning her into an old woman, Sophie seeks refuge as cleaning woman to Wizard Howl (although he's rumored to eat the hearts of young girls) in his castle, which moves at will about the countryside. Actually, Howl is a brash young man whose only vice is womanizing. He is a gifted wizard but the despair of his inept apprentice and of Calcifer, a humorously petulant fire demon, because of such human faults as messiness and spending too long in the bath. As in her memorable Archer's Goon, Jones has a plethora of characters who are seldom what they seem and an intricate plot which may dazzle with its complexity or delight by the hilarious common-sense consequences of its preposterous premises. Sophie is a dauntless heroine; when she regains her youth and wins Howl, the odds are this is only the beginning of a tempestuous romance. Great fun.

Pub Date: April 14, 1986

ISBN: 0061478784

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1986

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Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is...

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CRENSHAW

Applegate tackles homelessness in her first novel since 2013 Newbery winner The One and Only Ivan.

Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is nevertheless a somberly affecting one . (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04323-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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