Surreal coming-of-age fantasy -- with Muppets.
Matilda is a genius: by age four she has read all the books
in the children's section of her local library, and moved on to
Dickens, Austen, and Hemingway. She can also do advanced math in
her head and has a sophisticated understanding of the world.
Unfortunately her crooked car-dealer father and bingo-holic
mother, TV addicts both, don't appreciate her at all. In fact,
they "looked upon Matilda ... as nothing more than a scab."
Matilda spends most of her time reading, and the rest thinking up
clever revenges on them for their atrocious behavior, such as
putting superglue into her father hat brim, and swapping his hair
tonic for peroxide.
Things get worse when she starts school, Crunchem Hall Primary
School is run by the horrific Miss Trunchbull, "a gigantic holy
terror, a fierce tyrannical monster who frightened the life out
of pupils and teachers alike." Getting back at the Trunchbull
will be much more difficult, and dangerous, than her parents, so
Matilda's magnificent mind starts developing even more talents --
Sophie is trapped in her life as the responsible eldest
daughter who runs the family hat business and has nothing to look
forward to. Everything changes when the evil Witch of the Waste
bursts into her shop and, for mysterious reasons, turns her into
an old woman. Wandering away from town she finds herself alone in
the wilderness at night, and stumbles across the titular castle,
owned by a wizard rumored to take the souls of young girls.
Once there she makes a deal with a captive fire demon -- if
she breaks the contract between the demon and Howl, the demon
will lift the spell on Sophie. There's only one problem -- no one
can tell her what the contract is, or how to break it.
When wealthy New York twins John and Philippa have to have
their wisdom teeth removed rather young (they're twelve), it
triggers a series of events that reveal to them that they are
djinn, descended from a powerful tribe of djinn, and just coming
into their powers.
Sent to England to learn from their Uncle Nimrod all about
being djinn, they are drawn into the age-old conflict between
good and evil djinn, and travel with their uncle to Egypt to find
the secret behind the disappearance of 70 djinn millennia ago.
Now it's a race against the evil Iblis to rescue the missing ones
and bring them to the side of good before the balance of luck in
the universe is destroyed.
Too scary for younger fans of the popular book.
Excellent, epic saga continues to get darker, more intense.
This facsimile edition of Harry's textbook for his Care of
Magical Creatures class (complete with his, and Ron's and
Hermione's, margin notes) consists of an alphabetical listing of
magical beasts with a paragraph or two of description for each.
The listings also give the Ministry of Magic (M.O.M.)
classification for the level of danger posed by each creature.
The book also contains a forward by Albus Dumbledore, and
chapters on the definition of beasts, history of Muggle
awareness, and other basic information.
Supernatural soap saga drags on way too long.
Two cousins--one motherless, the other an orphan--are so
monstrously spoiled that no one can stand them and they can
hardly stand themselves. With the help of a boy of the moors and
some natural magic, they discover an abandoned garden and return
it to abundance. As the garden grows the children grow--into
their own better selves.
Witty, winsome fairy tale for the whole family.