Denouncing past social norms, these tales are bewitching.

THROUGH THE WATER CURTAIN

An anthology of diverse tales that stray away from the norm.

This collection of 13 lesser-known fairy tales from Europe and Asia begins with the Japanese tale of a boy who continually draws cats, emphasizing a hero who finds his artistic ability and the life it creates. From Germany, the tale of six brothers who turn into swans and their sister who saves them by not speaking for years presents a different kind of heroine, with patience and quiet strength. “The One-Handed Murderer,” from Italy, is a tale of a strong, independent woman who saves herself from the titular villain. The words of these tales create enthralling images, transporting readers to earlier times and enchanted worlds. Editor Funke introduces the collection, explaining her attraction to the darker, unorthodox stories. Refreshingly, many of these tales differ from the more famous ones that follow a patriarchal, middle-class view. Each story has its rebellious hero or heroine and an atypical happy ending. After each tale, Funke explains why she loves it or how it shaped her novels. Giving context to the periods and countries of the tales, she critically analyzes and reflects on their conveyed social values.

Denouncing past social norms, these tales are bewitching. (Folktales. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78269-200-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pushkin Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Science rules the day, but “at the same time, keep an open mind”: wise words.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

10 OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST MYSTERIES EXPLAINED

Scientific explanations for mysteries that have given rise to fantastical stories.

Encounters with aliens and haunted houses, quests for lost worlds and monsters of the deep, mysteries of ancient tombs and those returned from the dead—all sparkle here both as stories and as targets for scientific examination in Hulick and Wright’s terrific collection of creepy events. “Every mystery has an explanation. Getting to the bottom of it is what science is all about,” writes Hulick. But that doesn’t keep her from giving full voice to the mysteries at the beginning of each episode. Having set the folkloric or legendary scene, and accompanied by transportingly spooky artwork from Wright, Hulick puts on her scientist’s cap and seeks to make sense of the mysteries. In some cases the answers are circumstantial (“people experience strange things in haunted houses because they’re expecting strange things to happen”) and in other cases, clear-cut, as in the photograph of the Loch Ness Monster that turned out to be a hoax (but not before gaining plenty of traction). The book touches down all over the map of mysteries, from telepathy, clairvoyance, and telekinesis to Mu and Atlantis, Yeti and Bigfoot, the kraken and the Bermuda Triangle. The tone is respectful of both the mystery and the conclusions, of which not all are the last word. “The truth is that the natural world is an amazing place.”

Science rules the day, but “at the same time, keep an open mind”: wise words. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-784-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A good guide for beginners and browsers, but not suitable for research.

THE SECRET LIFE OF MONEY

A KID'S GUIDE TO CASH

This chatty guide to money works to make the subject appealing to middle-schoolers but is regrettably short on sourcing.

Vermond first defines what money is: More than just dollars and cents, money is "an agreement between people in an economy." Since we can't steal the things we need, she explains, there are multiple ways to make money. Money can be earned by jobs that reward workers for their time and special skills. Alternatively, you could be an entrepreneur and take on the risk and rewards of starting your own business. Of course, there's also imaginary money, aka credit, and its associated perils of debt and interest. The importance of saving is highlighted, from simple self-control and delayed gratification to investing and the advantage of compound interest. The text zips along, accompanied by two-color line art and frequent sidebars, with information on such topics as ancient money and interviews with financial experts. The author has a talent for explaining finance in an enthusiastic, easy-to-understand manner, yet with no works cited or references listed, there are questions about where these facts and figures come from.

A good guide for beginners and browsers, but not suitable for research. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-926973-19-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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