THE BOGGART

In Cooper's classic The Dark is Rising cycle, Will Stanton, an ordinary boy, is also one of the powerful "Old Ones" engaged in the age-old struggle against evil. Now, in a long-awaited return, Cooper turns to a different representative of the "Old Magic": a homely mischief-maker. From time immemorial, the invisible Boggart has lived in a Scottish castle, enjoying the sport of teasing and mystifying each new human occupant before settling down to his own peculiar brand of an affectionate relationship. The latest heir is a Canadian theater director, who brings his children (Jessup and Emily) for a brief visit before the castle is sold. Between long naps in odd corners, the Boggart makes himself known with baffling pranks—inventive but never malicious; when he curls up to snooze in a desk, he's accidentally shipped to Toronto, where he makes some delightful discoveries (pizza, peanut butter) but also tangles with modern technology, which—though it can marvelously enhance his tricks (notably, when he invades the theater's computer-run lights) leads to some dangerously unpredictable results. Cleverly getting into Jessup's computer, he manages to deliver a time-honored message: he wants to go home. A comfortably old-fashioned story, told with Cooper's usual imagination and grace: the Boggart is entrancing—a magically witty mix of fey spirit, comfort-loving cat, old man set in his ways, and child taking gleeful delight in his own mischief—of which there is plenty, all splendidly comical. (Fiction. 9+)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0689869304

Page Count: 199

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

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It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 1

In a rousing first novel, already an award-winner in England, Harry is just a baby when his magical parents are done in by Voldemort, a wizard so dastardly other wizards are scared to mention his name.

So Harry is brought up by his mean Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley, and picked on by his horrid cousin Dudley. He knows nothing about his magical birthright until ten years later, when he learns he’s to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts is a lot like English boarding school, except that instead of classes in math and grammar, the curriculum features courses in Transfiguration, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry becomes the star player of Quidditch, a sort of mid-air ball game. With the help of his new friends Ron and Hermione, Harry solves a mystery involving a sorcerer’s stone that ultimately takes him to the evil Voldemort. This hugely enjoyable fantasy is filled with imaginative details, from oddly flavored jelly beans to dragons’ eggs hatched on the hearth.

It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-590-35340-3

Page Count: 309

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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