Review: Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis

stolen magic

Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis

This third in the Kat, Incorrigible series continues the magical story of Kat who continues to romp through the social rules of the Regency-era with reckless abandon.  In this book, she is attending the wedding of her sister Angeline or at least she hopes that it will turn out that way.  But someone seems to be trying to kill her, cutting the axle of their carriage.  She has spotted someone lingering in the shadows, watching her, but has yet to figure out what she has done to anger them.  Kat is due to be initiated into the Order of the Guardians finally but that is delayed when it is discovered that their collection of spare portals has been stolen.  Then there is the woman who looks disturbingly like Kat’s dead mother who is also attending the wedding and the fact that Kat’s brother Charles has chosen a very bad time to finally wake up and become responsible.  It all makes for another delight of a novel in this charming series.

Burgis has created a heroine in Kat who is dynamic, ignores the social niceties of the day, and manages to get into all sorts of trouble, both magical and normal.  Through it all, she finds herself in incredible scrapes and adventures, that are great fun to go along on.  The writing is light handed, clear and makes for a rollicking read that is easy to read greedily and almost impossible to read slowly.

I see that this is said to be the conclusion of the series, though I admit that I hope for more about Kat.  I want to see what happens when she actually enters the Guardians, what happens to the hint of romance in the air, and what scrapes she gets into next. 

A grand ending to a great trilogy, this series is perfect to hand to both fans of fantasy and fans of historical fiction since it is a wonderful sweet concoction of both genres.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum.

Review: The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan

mighty lalouche

The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Over 100 years ago in Paris, there was a postman named Lalouche who thanks to his job delivering the mail was nimble, strong and fast.  He lived a quiet life with just his pet finch and a view of the Seine River.  When his job was replaced with an electric car, he was forced to turn to boxing to support himself.  At first, he was laughed at because he was so small and slight, but once he got in the ring, he proved that those same postal service skills made him a great boxer.  Soon he was pitted against The Anaconda in a major fight.  What happens when Lalouche finally meets a boxer just as strong, nimble and fast as himself? 

This is going to be one gushing review, since I complete adore this picture book.  Olshan’s writing strikes just the right balance between history and humor.  His text is completely readable and ideal to read aloud to a group.  The names of the wrestlers are delightful: The Piston, The Anaconda, The Grecque.  The story is satisfying and complete, one of those picture books that is all about the tale it is telling, much to its credit.

Blackall is the ideal illustrator for this quirky French picture book.  She plays with proportions and size here, creating wrestlers that dwarf the little Lalouche.  Her cut paper illustrations have a great dimension to them, the layers of paper creating shadows and depth.  I love the warmth of the world she creates in her version of Paris, everything faded, watermarked and somehow familiar.

Highly recommended, this picture book would make a stellar pick to read aloud to elementary classes thanks to its boxing, action and humor.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House.