Overflowing with heart and magic.


A mysterious house reveals startling secrets.

Eleven-year-old Abigail is less than pleased: Her beloved Granny Grace has returned to Jamaica and her widowed father, Theo, has combined households with his new wife, Polly, and her boys, Max, 13, and Louis, 6. After moving into an ivy-covered North London house that they can—with belt-tightening—just afford, the normal upheaval of blended-family life takes an otherworldly turn. Abi emerges from reading The Kon-Tiki Expedition to find the book damp and salty. There’s a flash of green wing—a parrot’s?—and a mysterious tropical seashell. It’s wondrous if unnerving, but Iffen is another order of magic entirely. Plaintive Louis, who loves Abi persistently and unreservedly, welcomes through his ivy-framed bedroom window a feline friend he dubs Iffen. But Iffen grows to potentially deadly proportions—while Polly temporarily works overseas, Theo picks up additional nursing shifts, ill-tempered Max simultaneously navigates an unrequited crush on the French babysitter and a cold war with his former best friend, and Abi retreats into her books. The quest to rescue Louis from Iffen ultimately saves them all. Readers will find the banter, humor, warmth, and cheerful chaos of the family’s lives irresistible. Avid bookworms and die-hard book resisters alike will find sympathetic mirrors, and the latter may well be won over to reading. Abi, her dad, and grandmother are cued as black; all other characters are white.

Overflowing with heart and magic. (Fabulism. 9-13)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6276-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.


The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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


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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