Recently in Book Mail
Book mail has picked up considerably – all of these have arrived on my doorstep within the last two weeks. I’m not entirely sure why things have picked up, but I am also admittedly not an expert on publishing and its seasons. But who’s complaining? I guess my one complaint is that I don’t have enough time to read all of these. If there is anything in particular that jumps out at you, feel free to let me know in the comments. Here are a few highlights:
Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
The sequel to the highly praised novel The Jumbies takes Corinne and her friends on another spine-tingling adventure under the sea.
Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.
To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea. But Mama D’Leau’s help comes with a price. Corinne and her friends Dru, Bouki, and Malik must travel with mermaids across the ocean to the shores of Ghana to fetch a powerful object for Mama D’Leau. The only thing more perilous than Corinne’s adventures across the sea is the foe that waits for her back home.
With its action-packed storytelling, diverse characters, and inventive twists on Caribbean and West African mythology and fairy tales, Rise of the Jumbieswill appeal to readers of A Snicker of Magic, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm , illustrated by Matthew Holm
In the mid-1970s Sunny Lewin is back, star of her personal show, facing the prospect of Middle School, and dealing with the problems of her somewhat dysfunctional family — in particular her older brother, Dale, who has been sent off to a military academy because of his delinquent behavior.
Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz by Michael Morpurgo
This beautiful, collectible book is the story of The Wizard of Oz retold from the perspective of Toto the dog, written by master storyteller Michael Morpurgo, and illustrated in full, glorious technicolour by the sensational Emma Chichester Clark.
The winning pairing of Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark had huge success with their re-telling of Pinocchio and are set to create another instant hit with this must-have gift for every child of seven or over (and children at heart).
Toto is a charming, funny, characterful retelling of the classic story of The Wizard of Oz, all told through the eyes of Toto the dog, whose wit and charm suffuse the book.
All the favourites are there: Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion, in a tale that is wonderfully familiar, but full of surprises too, as Michael Morpurgo brings his inimitable storytelling talents to this beloved story. The always-hungry Toto, obsessed with sausages, is a loveable and loyal narrator, and gives a unique spin on one of the most original stories of all time!
Emma Chichester Clark, famously a dog-owner with an illustrative blog about her own Plum Dog, brings amazing, lush colour illustrations to the book, conjuring this vivid story to unforgettable life.
Tumble & Blue by CASSIE BEASLEY
The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (No publisher’s summary available.)
My thoughts are mixed on these titles. I didn’t read the first Jumbies book, and I’m usually reluctant to read sequels if I haven’t read the others, but I’ve heard such good things about these books. I did read Sunny Side Up and enjoyed it, so will probably be reading the sequel. The last sequel I’ve highlighted, The Silver Mask, has no publisher’s summary available, which isn’t that surprising considering how full of twists and surprise this series is – and how reliant it is upon them. I’ve read books one and two of the Magisterium series, and will probably invest in books three and four eventually. I’m not certain how to feel about Toto. Michael Morpurgo is a fantastic writer, but I’m not a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz in general. This is probably a second tier choice for me.
Finally, the title I’m most conflicted about is Tumble & Blue. I sincerely disliked Circus Mirandus, although I thought it was well written. (I know that’s an unpopular opinion *shrugs*.) On the other hand, I felt the same way about Kelly Barnhill’s The Witch’s Boy, and yet fell in love with The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I can only hope it will be another of those situations.
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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