Writing as authority “Miss Edythe McFate,” Blume reveals that, even in New York, fairy folk are all around—having adapted to the urban environment—and so city children had best take special care not to run afoul of them. In two-dozen short chapters she introduces many types, explains their powers and (usually mischievous) proclivities and dispels common superstitions. She also suggests doable practices and strategies to stay on their good sides, such as leaving dishes of warm water, flower petals and Gummi bears around the house and ushering inchworms and ladybugs (all of which are fairy pets) found indoors back outside rather than killing them. Along with frequent weedy borders and corner spots, Foote adds portraits of chubby or insectile creatures, often in baroque attire. Interspersed with eight original tales (of children rescuing brownies ejected from the Algonquin Hotel during renovations, discovering a magical farm behind a door in the Lincoln Tunnel and so on), this collection of lore (much of it newly minted) offers an entertaining change of pace from the more traditional likes of Susannah Marriott’s Field Guide to Fairies (2009). (Informational fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-375-86203-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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Eurocentric, not to mention overly ambitious—but being able to say some variant of “Not so hot” in Belarus, Brazil or any...



With just a bit of practice children will come away from this quick but sweeping linguistic look-see able to exchange greetings and a “How are you doing?” with anyone (almost) anywhere in the world.

Following a dash past language’s origins and families, Webb introduces 21 tongues—literally, as signed languages are clumped with semaphore and other codes in a mop-up chapter at the end. At one double-page spread per language, each is given a thumbnail history, a linguistic map, translations of the numbers one through 10, pronunciation notes and a set of conversational words or phrases from “Hello” to “I’m fine, thank you” or, conversely, “Not so good.” He also tacks on an alphabet (Pinyin for Mandarin Chinese, Devanagari script for Hindi-Urdu) and, in catchall boxes on each spread, comments on scripts, loan words, and one or two distinctive orthographic or grammatical features. Including English, 10 of his selections are European languages, but he also tucks in a few choices from elsewhere such as Quechua and Zulu plus, in passing, samples at least of Esperanto, Klingon and even “Textese,” LOL. Lest he be accused of leaving anything out, the author closes with a glance at various forms of animal communication.

Eurocentric, not to mention overly ambitious—but being able to say some variant of “Not so hot” in Belarus, Brazil or any point between has to count for something. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-155-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A patchy tale flickering repeatedly from light to dark and back.


From the Phantom Files series

Alex’s ability to talk with ghosts puts him in famous company when he and his mom move to Hannibal, Missouri.

Alex, 13, is driven by bitter determination to keep his lifelong ability secret, since it’s already led to a diagnosis of schizophrenia that drove his parents apart and cost his mother a decent job, but it’s not easy. For one thing, his new friend, Bones, is a positively obsessed amateur ghost hunter, and for another, ghosts just won’t leave him alone no matter how rudely he treats them. Notable among the latter is Mark Twain himself, as acerbic and wily as he was in life, who is on the verge of involuntarily degenerating into a raging poltergeist unless Alex can find the unspecified, titular treasure. Alex’s search takes him through Clemens’ writings and tragic private life as well as many of the town’s related attractions on the way to a fiery climax in the public library. Meanwhile, Alex has an apotheosis of his own, deciding that lying to conceal his ability and his unhappy past isn’t worth the sacrifice of a valued friendship. Conveniently for the plot’s needs, Clemens and other ghosts can interact with the physical world at will. Wolfe parlays Alex’s ingrained inability to ignore ectoplasmic accosters into some amusing cross-conversations that help lighten his protagonist’s hard inner tests. The cast, living and otherwise, presents as white.

A patchy tale flickering repeatedly from light to dark and back. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-940924-29-8

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Dreaming Robot

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

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