Book Review: Sunwing by Kenneth Oppel

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The sequel to Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing is even bigger and more exciting than its predecessor. It picks up pretty much where Silverwing left off. Shade, the runty silverwing bat, has developed some unusual but useful skills in using sonar to draw pictures in the minds of bats and owls. In the first book these skills only went as far as reading a mental map that his mother sang to him, and occasionally decoying a threatening owl or cannibal bat ... Read More »

Book Review: Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

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Now, when you think of bats–not baseball bats, but the little leathery winged things that flap around in the night–I’m sure you don’t think to yourself, “Oooh, how cute!” But amazingly, Oppel manages to make friends between you, the reader, and his hero, a runty silverwing bat named Shade. Shade resents being smaller and weaker than the other little baby bats and wants to prove himself. But he just keeps getting into trouble instead–first, inadvertently ... Read More »

Book Review: The Accidental Hero by Matt Myklusch

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Previously published as Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation, this first novel by a sometime MTV producer features a young hero who will appeal strongly to fans of Harry Potter, comic books, and science-fiction franchises such as Star Trek. His name is Jack Blank. And though he doesn’t know it at first, he has super-powers. One power, actually—but one that explains why machines tend to break down around him when his emotions are stirred. This power ... Read More »

Book Review: Measle and the Doompit by Ian Ogilvy

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Measle Stubbs is the son of the Prime Magus, the leader of all the wizards in Britain. His mother is a manafount; which is to say, she contributes a non-stop flow of magical energy to strengthen her husband’s magic. Measle’s sister Tilly is a rare mallockee, who can perform multiple spells, one after another. His best friend is a wrathmonk: a tiny, weak, not-too-bright wrathmonk, to be sure, but still capable of performing magic. But, ... Read More »

Book Review: Under the Healing Sign by Nick O’Donohoe

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In the sequel to The Magic and the Healing, BJ Vaughan has graduated from veterinary school and started her first practice…in the magical world of Crossroads. There she swiftly gathers experience in treating centaurs, unicorns, and other magical creatures. She has nothing else to do; BJ soon learns that leaving Crossroads means more than losing touch with the magic that keeps her Huntington’s disease at bay. Each time she goes back to her own world, the ... Read More »

Book Review: Measle and the Slitherghoul by Ian Ogilvy

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Back in the third Measle adventure, Measle and the Mallockee, we caught a glimpse of something shapeless, slimy, and very, very dangerous. Now that something is on the move. Its name is the Slitherghoul. For centuries it has been locked up in an underground cell, guarded and studied by wizards, but mostly left alone. No one knows what evil spell created it, but only that it absorbed its creator, a young apprentice wizard named Sheepshank. Then, ... Read More »

Book Review: Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

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It’s the fifth and final “Fablehaven” adventure, and the world is coming to an end. More of the world’s magical game preserves are falling to the Society of the Evening Star, which is collecting the five hidden talismans needed to open the demon prison of Zzyzx. Young Kendra and Seth Sorenson, along with their family and friends, are charged with protecting these powerful objects, and the five “Eternals” who must die before the bad guys ... Read More »

Book Review: The Magic and the Healing by Nick O’Donohoe

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The author of this book was at a late-night party with colleagues of his wife – a veterinary student – when an emergency call came in. A bear cub had been hit by a car and needed immediate surgery. O’Donohoe tagged along as the vets, unable to look up the proper anaethesia for bear cubs because the library was closed, improvised on the principle “Let’s pretend it’s a big, fat, mean dog.” Out of nowhere ... Read More »

Book Review: The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell

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Scott O’Dell (1898-1989) is widely, and justly, regarded as one of the USA’s most important children’s authors. Only the second American to win the international Hans Christian Andersen Award (a distinction he shares with only four other American authors and one illustrator), he won a 1961 Newbery Medal for Island of the Blue Dolphins and, in a fifty-five-year career, published over two dozen more young-adult novels, mostly historical fiction set in Mexico or the American southwest. Four ... Read More »

Book Review: Measle and the Mallockee by Ian Ogilvy

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A couple years ago, I gave a pile of slightly-used books to the young children of some friends I was visiting over the New Year. Among them were the first two Measle books by Ian Ogilvy. During that holiday I even read portions of the first book aloud, complete with character voices. Such was the glee of those children that, to this day, I am told Measle and the Wrathmonk and Measle and the Dragodon are among their favorite ... Read More »