THE HIDDEN GALLERY

From the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series , Vol. 2

The plot thickens but is still far from crystallizing in this madcap sequel to The Mysterious Howling (2010). Transplanted to London while repairs are being made to manorial Ashton Place in the wake of the last episode’s disastrous climax, inexperienced but resourceful governess Penelope Lumley looks forward to shepherding her three young charges—still acquiring a veneer of civilization after having been supposedly raised in the forest by wolves—about the great city. Unsurprisingly, events quickly get out of hand. Except for the occasional self-indulgent aside (listing real but irrelevant 19th-century tourist guides, for instance), the narrative voice continues to develop, thanks to diversions into such niceties as the difference between “optimism” and “optoomuchism” and pterodomania (the study of ferns). When not digressing, the narrator keeps the plot aboil, stirring in vague warnings and (of course) references to a prophecy, characters with ambiguous identities, astonishing apparent coincidences and tasty elements such as a cast of theatrical (but also possibly real) pirates and a strange guidebook that furnishes Penelope with obviously-significant Clues to her own obscure past as well as that of the children’s. Great fun, and it wouldn’t be optoomuchstic to expect more to come. Includes frequent full-page line drawings, not seen. (Melodrama. 10-12) 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-179112-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood.

REBOUND

In this prequel to Newbery Award–winning The Crossover (2014), Alexander revisits previous themes and formats while exploring new ones.

For Charlie Bell, the future father of The Crossover’s Jordan and Josh, his father’s death alters his relationship with his mother and causes him to avoid what reminds him of his dad. At first, he’s just withdrawn, but after he steals from a neighbor, his mother packs a reluctant Charlie off to his grandparents near Washington, D.C., for the summer. His grandfather works part-time at a Boys and Girls Club where his cousin Roxie is a star basketball player. Despite his protests, she draws him into the game. His time with his grandparents deepens Charlie’s understanding of his father, and he begins to heal. “I feel / a little more normal, / like maybe he’s still here, / … in a / as long as I remember him / he’s still right here / in my heart / kind of way.” Once again, Alexander has given readers an African-American protagonist to cheer. He is surrounded by a strong supporting cast, especially two brilliant female characters, his friend CJ and his cousin Roxie, as well as his feisty and wise granddaddy. Music and cultural references from the late 1980s add authenticity. The novel in verse is enhanced by Anyabwile’s art, which reinforces Charlie’s love for comics.

An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood. (Historical verse fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-86813-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.

A GIRL, A RACCOON, AND THE MIDNIGHT MOON

This is the way Pearl’s world ends: not with a bang but with a scream.

Pearl Moran was born in the Lancaster Avenue branch library and considers it more her home than the apartment she shares with her mother, the circulation librarian. When the head of the library’s beloved statue of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is found to be missing, Pearl’s scream brings the entire neighborhood running. Thus ensues an enchanting plunge into the underbelly of a failing library and a city brimful of secrets. With the help of friends old, uncertainly developing, and new, Pearl must spin story after compelling story in hopes of saving what she loves most. Indeed, that love—of libraries, of books, and most of all of stories—suffuses the entire narrative. Literary references are peppered throughout (clarified with somewhat superfluous footnotes) in addition to a variety of tangential sidebars (the identity of whose writer becomes delightfully clear later on). Pearl is an odd but genuine narrator, possessed of a complex and emotional inner voice warring with a stridently stubborn outer one. An array of endearing supporting characters, coupled with a plot both grounded in stressful reality and uplifted by urban fantasy, lend the story its charm. Both the neighborhood and the library staff are robustly diverse. Pearl herself is biracial; her “long-gone father” was black and her mother is white. Bagley’s spot illustrations both reinforce this and add gentle humor.

The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.   (reading list) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6952-1

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more