ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES

Leffler’s small, delicately drawn and colored figures—part collage, and mostly of fairies or distant, elegantly posed people—add graceful visual notes to every spread of a collection that resembles many others, but does mix some less familiar tales in with the usual chestnuts. Readers may be disappointed that there’s no “Little Mermaid,” and no Emperor to be seen, clothed or otherwise, in the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” However, the grisly “Traveling Companion,” which features an abusive ghost and a sorcerer with a taste for human eyes, makes pleasantly chilling reading, and Andersen’s cutting style of humor definitely comes through in “The Sweethearts,” about a top who abandons his love for a leather ball when she turns old and ugly, and the closer, in which “Jack the Dullard” gets the Princess by displaying a rude sense of fun. Reichenstetter trims away some of Andersen’s descriptive and ornamental fancies to retell the 13 tales in formal but not stiff language. A good choice for a gift, or to showcase the author’s always surprising versatility. (Short stories. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7358-2141-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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BEOWULF

“Hear, and listen well, my friends, and I will tell you a tale that has been told for a thousand years and more.” It’s not exactly a rarely told tale, either, though this complete rendition is distinguished by both handsome packaging and a prose narrative that artfully mixes alliterative language reminiscent of the original, with currently topical references to, for instance, Grendel’s “endless terror raids,” and the “holocaust at Heorot.” Along with being printed on heavy stock and surrounded by braided borders, the text is paired to colorful scenes featuring a small human warrior squaring off with a succession of grimacing but not very frightening monsters in battles marked by but a few discreet splashes of blood. Morpurgo puts his finger on the story’s enduring appeal—“we still fear the evil that stalks out there in the darkness . . . ”—but offers a version unlikely to trouble the sleep of more sensitive readers or listeners. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-3206-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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