Friday, July 26, 2013

Grasshopper Magic by Lynne Jonell, illustrated by Brandon Dorman

I generally don't review sequels, but I picked this one up without realizing it was the third in a series and it seems to stand well enough on its own.

The general premise of the series seems to be that there's magic in the ground under and around the house of the four willow kids, Abner, Tate, Celia and Derek. In the two previous stories, the magic involved hamsters and lawn mowers. In this story, obviously, it's all about grasshoppers.

Abner accidentally finds himself signed up to be a major part of the town's historical parade and he isn't looking forward to it at all, especially having to read a speech in front of a lot of people. His siblings decide the best way for him to conquer his fear is by testing his bravery and it just so happens they have the perfect thing for him to try...roasted grasshoppers!

Unfortunately, they all temporarily forget about the magic underground...and that grasshoppers start out as underground larva! A lot of crunching later, Abner and Tate has some serious hopping ability. It's all fun and games until they realize someone else might be affected too. Abner gets a chance to realize he really is brave when it matters, whether it be saving a baby or ignoring the taunts of other kids, and they all have some wild, high-jumping experiences.

At 100 pages, this is an easy, friendly fantasy for kids ready for longer chapters. It's not perfect - the whole thing wraps up way too neatly, there are a lot of random plot ends that could have been cleaned up, and there are too many kids for any of them to really develop as characters, but it's a light, fun fantasy that kids will zip through and enjoy. An additional purchase.

ISBN: 9780375870842; Published May 2013 by Stepping Stone/Random House; ARC and review copy provided by the publisher

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