Book Review: The Violet Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (Editor)


Like the other fairy books edited by Andrew Lang, The Violet Fairy Book is packed with stories (35 of them) from many countries and most continents, stirring illustrations by H. J. Ford, and a captivating collection of magical creatures, brave princes, lovely princesses, plucky peasants, clever rogues, things delightfully familiar, and things surprising and unique. There are more than a month’s worth of bedtime stories here…if you can hold yourself to one story per night. More likely, ... Read More »

Book Review: Mister Monday by Garth Nix


In this first book of his ongoing series titled The Keys to the Kingdom, author Garth Nix introduces us to a young hero-to-be named Arthur Penhaligon. He doesn’t seem like much of a hero, at first; but, in what may be the one flaw in Nix’s writing, we get a thorough introduction to the boy’s complicated background along with a lot of fussy, unnecessary details about his family life. It boils down to this: Arthur is ... Read More »

Book Review: The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (Editor)


In the Preface to the fourth of his Many-Colored Fairy Books, first published in 1894, Andrew Lang notes that the President of the Folk Lore Society, of which Lang was a member, condemned Lang and others who edited similar books. I quote:   Where is the harm? The truth is that the Folk Lore Society—made up of the most clever, learned, and beautiful men and women of the country—is fond of studying the history and ... Read More »

Book Review: Firewing by Kenneth Oppel


The third, and apparently last, of Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing/Sunwing novels is a pretty gripping story, but I was a little disappointed at the ending. Not because it was badly written; it just wasn’t the way I wanted it to end! This time the adventure takes place in the bat underworld, where bats go when they die. Apparently it is a literal underworld, because Shade Silverwing’s newborn son, Griffin, gets sucked down an air shaft opened up by ... Read More »

Book Review: Sunwing by Kenneth Oppel


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


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


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


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


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


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 »