A DRAGON'S GUIDE TO THE CARE AND FEEDING OF HUMANS

From the Dragon's Guide series , Vol. 1

This comedy starring a 3,000-year-old dragon and a scrappy little girl takes young readers into a fantasy world situated right next to ours.

Miss Drake enjoys humans but sees them as pets. Sadly, her most recent pet, a lady she called “Fluffy” but whom her family knew as “Great-Aunt Amelia,” recently passed away. Now, Amelia’s niece, 10-year-old Winnie, has come to live in Miss Drake’s mansion in San Francisco. Right from the start, Winnie just won’t follow Miss Drake’s rules for pets. When the girl draws some fanciful creatures in a magical sketchbook, the creatures become real and escape, causing Miss Drake to frantically work to contain the damage. When one of Winnie’s sketches turns out to be a truly dangerous creature, even the best of the magical participants at the Enchanter’s Fair can’t defeat it. Creating a magical world that lies alongside but is concealed from ours, Yep and Ryder write the story from Miss Drake’s prissy perspective, using the framework of a pet-care book. The tale is alternately comical, suspenseful and sometimes sweetly emotional, as when it touches on the deaths of Great-Aunt Amelia and Winnie’s father and as Miss Drake becomes increasingly fond of Winnie. The playful pen-and-ink illustrations by GrandPré at the beginning of each chapter add yet more charm.

 Delightful whimsy. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-39228-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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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