THE SEA-THING CHILD

"The wind was howling, the sea was wild, and the night was black when the storm flung the sea-thing child up on the beach." And though the creature is never identified or described or pictured, you learn all that matters from his deliberate construction of a sea-stone igloo beside "seaweed-bearded rocks" and from his delightfully grave and childlike conversations with his friend the fiddler crab (who enters "yelling in a thin and whispery voice, 'Oh, if only I had a bow, what music I could play!' ") and with a passing eel and albatross — distinctly realized and differentiated in impressively little space. The eel on his departure ("clear the runway, I'm taking off") advises, "Mind what l say, and get off the beach before you go barmy and start building stone igloos," and at last, though he had feared "the deepness and the darkness and the farness of the sea. . .and the ocean being so big and me so small," the sea-thing child "soar(s) up into the night and away into the storm over the ocean he was born in." This tiny book (with fewer than 27 5" by 7" pages of text and a few small black and white sketches that merely echo the mood and suggest the setting) is probably what the word exquisite should have been saved for, and only Hoban could bring it off.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 1972

ISBN: 0744578264

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1972

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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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