MG – The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst

Moriarty, Jaclyn. The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst. Levine Querido, 2021. 978-1-646-14076-3. $17.99. 448 p. Grades 5-8.

This book, the third in Jaclyn Moriarty’s Kingdoms and Empires series, is a delightful fantasy romp of magic, mystery, and adventure. Ester, the main character, is a strong-willed and independent girl who perseveres in difficult situations, including the heart-breaking bullying she encounters from her own teacher at school. As Ester deals with threats to her school and her country, she eventually comes to a painful realization about her mother that threatens to tear her and her family apart. The bravery she displays as she chooses a path that will help save everything she holds dear is inspiring, and the book comes to a very satisfying conclusion. 

THOUGHTS: Students who love magic-soaked series like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Fablehaven will be delighted with this book as well. It is easy to root for Ester and her family as they race to overcome problems in their magical world, and the book works well as a stand-alone even though it is part of a larger series.

Fantasy          Erin Faulkner, Cumberland Valley SD

Elem. – Hat Tricks

Satoshi, Kitamura. Hat Tricks. Peachtree Publishing Company, 2020. 978-1-682-63150-8. Unpaged. $16.99. Grades K-3.

With only two tiny white ears showing and the question, “What do we have here?” children are introduced to Hattie, a magician who has a magical hat. A variety of artistic mediums create simple, uncluttered illustrations that accompany text that will engage students and have them asking, “What’s in the hat?” On each page spread, a new friend joins Hattie and her magical hat. Magical words like “Abracadabra katakurico” can be fun for a whole class cheer or as an opportunity to work on reading nonsense words and breaking down syllables.

THOUGHTS: This simple picture book would be a fun read aloud for primary grades and can encourage predicting and a discussion about context clues.

Picture Book          Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD