The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog (Dutton Children’s Books, 2016) by Adam Gidwitz and illuminated* by Hatem Aly is a differently told medieval tale that was very fun.
“The king is ready for war.” Against three children and their dog. The setting is a French Inn where travelers gather to discuss the strange events. Each person knows a part of the tale. Along the way, we meet the peasant girl named Jeanne, the young monk named William, and the Jewish boy named Jacob. Each has a special gift: visions of the future, supernatural strength, and healing. And, of course, there’s Gwenforte the dog, who has come back to life.
*this term is explained in the book.
This book is a Newbery Honor Book and Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award.
Adam has also written the Grimm series (Tall Dark and Grimm is on Netflix), the Unicorn Rescue Series, and some Star Wars books. Check them out here. Read about Adam here.
Read about illustrator Hatem here. See all the books he’s illustrated here and I enjoyed looking at his sketchbooks.
The thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a great slab of prose at the start.
The Girl Who Could Not Dream (Clarion Books, 2015) by Sarah Beth Durst was very enjoyable. It has such a fun concept: dreams can be bought and sold. I love the opening line, “Sophie had only ever stolen one dream.”
Sophie’s best friend is a sweet monster, with iridescent fur, tentacles, sharp teeth, who talks. She brought him out of a dream when she was six. Now Monster and her new friend Ethan help Sophie when her parents go missing and their shop’s dreams are all stolen.
You’ll meet funny and scary characters in this adventure, plus be introduced to interesting machinery that processes dreams. Get a sneak preview here.
Sarah Beth Durst writes for kids, teens, and adults. She’s one prolific author! On her website you can choose a category of her books to see what they are. Read about Sarah here.
Previously I recommended a later book of Sarah’s, Spark. It was good, but I like this one even better.
While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.
Henry C. Link
Journey Beyond the Burrow (Harper, 2021) by Rina Heisel is a fun adventure story and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.
Tobin (a mouse) knows the rules by heart, but he must break rule #8 “Never purse a predator. Never.” when his baby brother is stolen by a huge arachnid. Tobin, his sister Talia, and best friend Wiley meet all kinds of creatures on their journey, plus Tobin ends up breaking other rules so that everyone survives.
I love the weather scout procedures, the sensory details from the mouse viewpoint, and the Official Rules of Rodentia. #13: “Heed the whispered warnings of weather; ignoring it’s clues will spell your doom.”
Learn about the author here and more about her debut novel here.