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Review of Goldenhand

Goldenhand [Old Kingdom] by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    345 pp. 10/16    978-0-06-156158-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-221678-6    $10.99 In this fifth installment in the series, Sabriel, the Abhorsen, is on a much-needed holiday, and it falls to Abhorsen-in-Waiting Lirael to investigate when her friend (and love interest) Nicholas Sayre sends word of an […]

Review of The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz; illus. by Hatem Aly Middle School, High School    Dutton    365 pp. 9/16    978-0-525-42616-5    $17.99    g An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints’ lives, the Joan of Arc legend, thirteenth-century French history, and elements of The Canterbury Tales, Gidwitz’s hopeful story of […]

Of Fantasy and Daughters

I read my daughter’s first fantasy book to her when she was one week old. Every evening I swaddled her up and rocked her to sleep while reading aloud another chapter of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. What else was I supposed to do with a tiny speechless creature with big eyes who only wanted […]

Ghosts and witches and wizards, oh my!

What better time of year to curl up with a creepy book and a cup of cocoa to ward off the supernatural shivers? These middle-school novels provide just the right balance of adventure and eeriness — along with a few magical villains (or are they?) — for deliciously spooky fall reads. Set in late-nineteenth-century imperial […]

Review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill Intermediate, Middle School    Algonquin    388 pp. 8/16    978-1-61620-567-6    $16.95 Every year, the people of the Protectorate steel themselves for the Day of Sacrifice, when the elders take the city’s youngest baby and leave it in the woods to appease the witch — a witch no one […]

Review of A Most Magical Girl

A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee Intermediate    Knopf    297 pp. 8/16    978-0-553-51285-4    $16.99 Library ed    978-0-553-51286-1    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-51287-8    $10.99 Annabel is outraged when her mother removes her from her conventional young ladies’ school, sets her up as an assistant in her great-aunts’ magic shop, and promptly disappears. But the tears and […]

British (and Aussie and Kiwi!) invasion

Our fandom knows no borders! Some of our best-loved fantasy authors come to us from across the pond (or, in Garth Nix’s and Margaret Mahy’s cases, across the equator). We’ve highlighted a few essential articles by/about each author, as well some adoring blog posts; click on an author’s name to see all Horn Book content […]

Review of Grayling’s Song

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Review of A Clatter of Jars

A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff Intermediate    Philomel    218 pp. 5/16    978-0-399-17499-5    $16.99    g Graff returns to the magical world introduced in A Tangle of Knots (rev. 7/13), where citizens are either Talented (possessing gifts that range from asparagus cooking to memory manipulation) or Fair, with no extraordinary abilities. Here, children with Singular Talents […]

A little light fantasy

With historical, contemporary, and folkloric set-ups, this selection of new light fantasies has something for every middle-grade fantasy fan. Grayling’s Song is a moral tale with a simple lesson: it’s not magic but rather “courage, cleverness, imagination, good judgment, and good sense” that make for a hero who can overcome evil. When her wise-woman mother […]