THE SWING IN THE SUMMERHOUSE

Three characters in search of themselves, with a swing to transport them and Mrs. Truth to light the last stretch: an allegorical fantasy in shifting dimensions. Eleanor and Eddy discover that by swinging through each of the archways of the summerhouse they will reach a different destination: first Eddy finds himself in THE MAN-CASTLE evoked by Uncle Freddy ("Your body is your castle, isn't it?") as the metaphor for human potential; then Eleanor investigates WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?, discovers the value of each person to be "beyond price"; MAKE NEW WORLDS takes her to the world that she has made with paper dolls and tinsel dreams, and she finds it tiresome; and so on to the forbidden portal, GROW UP NOW. There the children turn to marble and Mrs. Truth explains to uncle Freddy who has never grown up: "one way to grow up is to stiffen and harden into one kind of person who is just the same forever." "But how can they help it? That's what growing up means." By keeping "the freshness and wonder of childhood all your life, even though you grow up in other ways." Because he has, he can release them; its time run out, the summerhouse, scene of their separate longings, explodes, but the rainbow—"a sign of the miracles that surround us every day"—remains. This is an independent sequel to The Diamond in the Winddow, and it is both less diffuse and more diverse; less diffuse because the pattern is obvious, more diverse because each episode reveals a different aspect of self-discovery and each transforms reality appropriately, immediately and inventively. Children will remember the giant cash register (WHAT ARE YOU WORTH) and the paper doll party (MAKE NEW WORLDS) and grave little Georgie, the aspiring reader (and the tingling illustrations) much longer than the all-too-obtrusive MESSAGE.

Pub Date: May 11, 1967

ISBN: 0064401243

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1967

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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An enthralling fantasy adventure full of bravery, love, and humor.

THE MARVELLERS

A Black girl embarks on an unprecedented journey to tap deeper into her magic.

Ella Durand is an 11-year-old from New Orleans, where she lives with her conjure-politician father, notorious Conjuror mother, grandmother, and little sister, Winnie. Ella makes history as the first Conjuror to be accepted into the Arcanum Training Institute, where she can learn to become a Marveller. Ella is eager to discover her marvel and to find out more about a type of magic so different from what she has grown up with, but integrating into this new school turns out to be harder than she hoped. Fortunately, she makes new friends, Jason and Brigit, who help her better navigate life at the school. After Ella’s family becomes embroiled in controversy due to allegations of their connection to an infamous escaped criminal and her teacher and mentor, Masterji Thakur, goes missing, she needs her friends’ help to help set things right. Clayton does a wonderful job with skillful worldbuilding that is bolstered by vivid, detailed descriptions and smart, witty prose, and readers will be swept up in the magic. The novel celebrates the diverse peoples and customs that make up Ella’s world. Parallels between the world of the Marvellers and real-world history around discrimination, privilege, marginalization, and stereotyping are clear without being heavy-handed. A charming cast and captivating storylines make this a breath of fresh air.

An enthralling fantasy adventure full of bravery, love, and humor. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-17494-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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