Book review: “LightLand” by H. L. McCutchen
Book Reviews / September 6, 2013

It begins with two quirky kids, best friends since they were babies, each the only child of a single parent. Lottie Cook lives with her kind, slightly magical, widowed father Eldon in a sprawling, home-made home full of points of interest like a room that spins around until you get dizzy and fall down, and a giant room full of furniture that makes you feel doll-sized. Since the first day of first grade, she has worn pajamas and slippers to school every day, out of protest against having to go to school at all.

Book review: “13 Treasures” by Michelle Harrison
Book Reviews / August 18, 2013

Being able to see fairies isn’t all sparkly dust and tinkly bells. Tanya has been able to see them since she was a baby, and it’s a living nightmare for her. Her parents are fed up with what they see as serious behavioral problems. And the winged creatures that visit her on moonlit nights do not bring wonder and enchantment, but threats and punishment when she doesn’t do what they want. They aren’t pretty. They aren’t nice. There’s no one Tanya can tell about them.

Book review: “Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories” by Ian Beck
Book Reviews / July 23, 2013

In the sequel to “The Secret History of Tom Trueheart”, the youngest of seven brothers in the last surviving family of storybook heroes must, once again, set out to save the older six. Not only that, but he must rescue five princesses who were spirited away on their wedding day before the helpless, horrified eyes of their wedding guests. Also, he has to stop a renegade Story Bureau scribe, now styling himself the King of Unhappy Endings, from marching an Army of Darkness against the Land of Stories.

Book review: “Storybound” by Marissa Burt
Book Reviews / July 20, 2013

Una Fairchild is a lonely little girl from our world who, one day, finds a book in the library purporting to be the Story of Una Fairchild. Even more amazingly, the book’s blank pages begin filling with text before her eyes, as though she were part of a story being written down as it happens in real time. Before she has a moment to stop and consider what is going on, she finds herself really inside the story—or rather in Story—gate-crashing two students’ practical exam in heroics.

Book review: “The Seven Keys of Balabad” by Paul Haven
Book Reviews / July 14, 2013

Oliver Finch is an all-American boy who likes wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt, and a New York Yankees baseball cap. But thanks to his father’s career as a journalist and his mother’s interest in archaeology, he finds himself living so far from Yankee Stadium that, in his time zone, the night games start at 5:00 the next morning.

Book review: “A Tale Dark and Grimm” by Adam Gidwitz
Book Reviews / July 11, 2013

This book is what happens when a New York City schoolteacher stitches together nine fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to form one coherent story—while, at the same time, restoring much of the original versions’ weird, scary, and bloody bits. And although the narrator often pulls the reader aside and begs him to make sure there are no small children in the room to hear the tale, the entire book demonstrates an amazing faith in kids’ guts, brains, and hearts—not only that they can understand and appreciate such strong stuff, but that they are brave enough to take it, worthy to enjoy it, and keen to learn from it

Book review: “Tales from the Hood” by Michael Buckley
Book Reviews / July 2, 2013

The sixth book in the “Sisters Grimm” series features another “fractured fairy-tale” to delight middle-grade readers. Sabrina and Daphne go through a lot in this installment. While Sabrina finds herself reaching the age where she can’t help worrying about how she looks, Daphne suddenly—and, to Sabrina, irritatingly—takes to imitating her older sister.

Book review: “The Empire of Gut and Bone” by M. T. Anderson
Book Reviews / June 24, 2013

And now, in Book 3 of the “Norumbegan” Quartet, Brian, Gregory, and a clockwork troll named Kalgrash travel to the new homeworld of the fey Norumbegans, seeking their help to save Earth. Instead of a nice, straightforward planet, however, the boys find themselves somewhere in the innards of a world-sized creature—the Great Body, as its inhabitants call it.