Tasty in bits, but even Pottermanes may find this indigestible in quantity.

THE UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS HANDBOOK

MUGGLENET'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE WIZARDING WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS SCHOOL

From the Unofficial Harry Potter Reference Library series

Everything entering students need to know, from class and holiday schedules to notable ghosts and headmasters and headmistresses.

Compiled by a team of MuggleNet editors, this fourth annual entry in the Unofficial Harry Potter Reference Library mines the Potterverse’s books, films, games, discussion boards, and possibly even pensieves for fictive “facts” about the school’s buildings, grounds, curriculum, history, and prominent residents—living and otherwise. The entries are thoroughly spoileriffic, but that hardly matters as there are no illustrations, and only rabid fans are going to last long plowing through wearisomely detailed prose descriptions of the Hogwarts crest and official song, the castle’s common rooms and corridors…not to mention numerous exhaustive lists, from the names and injuries of everyone ever sent to the hospital wing and every offense, real or imagined, for which students were docked points to all the shops and inns in the adjacent village of Hogsmeade. The content is unsourced and neither indexed nor systematically organized. Still, readers who would delight in seeing the Battle of Hogwarts recapped as a timeline along with, for instance, learning where Hogwarts is and how it got its name will be in their glory. As in the original series, the cast’s racial makeup defaults to White.

Tasty in bits, but even Pottermanes may find this indigestible in quantity. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-948174-95-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Media Lab Books

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

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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Problem-solving through perseverance and friendship is the real win in this deeply smart and inspiring story.

SWIM TEAM

Leaving Brooklyn behind, Black math-whiz and puzzle lover Bree starts a new life in Florida, where she’ll be tossed into the deep end in more ways than one. Keeping her head above water may be the trickiest puzzle yet.

While her dad is busy working and training in IT, Bree struggles at first to settle into Enith Brigitha Middle School, largely due to the school’s preoccupation with swimming—from the accomplishments of its namesake, a Black Olympian from Curaçao, to its near victory at the state swimming championships. But Bree can’t swim. To illustrate her anxiety around this fact, the graphic novel’s bright colors give way to gray thought bubbles with thick, darkened outlines expressing Bree’s deepest fears and doubts. This poignant visual crowds some panels just as anxious feelings can crowd the thoughts of otherwise star students like Bree. Ultimately, learning to swim turns out to be easy enough with the help of a kind older neighbor—a Black woman with a competitive swimming past of her own as well as a rich and bittersweet understanding of Black Americans’ relationship with swimming—who explains to Bree how racist obstacles of the past can become collective anxiety in the present. To her surprise, Bree, with her newfound water skills, eventually finds herself on the school’s swim team, navigating competition, her anxiety, and new, meaningful relationships.

Problem-solving through perseverance and friendship is the real win in this deeply smart and inspiring story. (Graphic fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-305677-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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