Nightbird: Book Review

June 7th, 2015 by

NightbirdIf you’ve read Alice Hoffman’s other books (like Aquamarine and Indigo), then you won’t be surprised to hear that her latest novel, Nightbird, features a mysterious magical being. And the book opens with an introduction to it: “Some people insist it’s a bird bigger than an eagle; others say it’s a dragon, or an oversized bat that resembles a person. … Children whisper that we have a monster on our midst…”

With that beginning, I expected Nightbird to be quite dark and spooky, but it’s more of a dusky book: not bright and sunny by any means, but also very far from total midnight creepiness — think along the lines of those quiet twilight moments that mark an ending but also carry a spark of hope and the beauty and promise of a brand new night about to unfurl itself before you. To me, that’s the feeling of Nightbird.

The story is told by Twig (real name: Teresa). For her whole life in Sidwell, a big family secret has forced Twig to keep to herself and lead a lonely existence. But one summer, a family with kids moves in next door and Twig has a chance at making a real friend. Even though Twig’s mother forbids her from spending any time with the new family, it’s difficult for Twig to resist. But is she putting her own family’s lives at risk?

And there are several mysteries going on in town too. Who is spray painting all around the place, leaving messages to try to stop the upcoming demolition of the woods? And who is responsible for all the clothing and other belongings that are going missing from people’s backyards? Could it be one single culprit making all the mischief? Some folks in town certainly think so — and they have it all pinned on the Sidwell Monster

I really enjoyed seeing how all these different story strands come together, and the best part is that Alice Hoffman doesn’t tell you everything in chronological order or lay out all the facts for you right from the start of the book. Instead you get information and insight bit by bit, which makes it so much more satisfying when the pieces begin to intersect.

I recommend this book for fans of The Magician’s Elephant, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, and Breadcrumbs — and, of course, for fans of Alice Hoffman’s other books!

If you’ve already read Nightbird, leave a comment and let me know! Or just tell me: Are there any interesting stories or legends about where you live?

— Karen

There are plenty of legends about New York City, where Karen lives. But Karen is happy to report that so far, she has yet to see giant radioactive rats running around the city!

More about Karen »



Review copy from the publisher.

Kidsmomo Podcast #29: “Just Beachy”

July 13th, 2010 by

A snobby mermaid, a kooky hotel, breakfast with Mickey Mouse, and special reading goggles — you’ll find them all in our latest podcast, all about beach reads! Plus, Nancy and Karen psychoanalyze each other, according to the world of the Baby-Sitters Club. C’mon, you don’t want to miss that!

    Download the MP3 (5.6 MB)

  • A surprise guest at the pool party (and Nancy goes all gaga over a cute guy) — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our beach read recs (The Pink Motel, BSC prequel The Summer Before)
  • A sunny review by YOU (Sand Dollar Summer)

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is globe-trotting adventures! So send us a review of your favorite book about thrilling foreign travel (or an epic journey between countries) and check out our picks for globe-trotting adventures.

— Karen and Nancy

Book Trailer: Aquamarine

July 6th, 2010 by

This book trailer for Aquamarine was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Beach Reads theme. For more on Aquamarine, check out our “Just Beachy” podcast.

It’s a bummer summer for BFFs Hailey and Claire because at the end of the season, Claire has to move away. But at least they have one last summer together, to hang out at the beach club, crush on older cutie Raymond, and… meet a strange creature from the deep? Yep, there’s summertime magic in Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman!

Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

August 9th, 2009 by

aquamarineReviewed by: Julia L., age 11, from California

Rating: ★★★★★

This book is awesome!!!!!!!! It’s about Hailey and Claire who are best friends and Claire is going to move away forever at the end of the summer. They find a mermaid named Aquamarine in the pool and they have to ssave her but she won’t go back to the sea because she’s in love with a human named Raymond. Hailey and Claire set up a date for them and they pretend Aquamarine is in a wheelchair so they can hide her mermaid tail. Raymond falls in love with Aquamarine back and even when he finds out she’s a mermaid he still loves her but she has to go back to the sea or she’ll die. I won’t tell you what happens because you should read this book to find out!!! you won’t be disapointed!!!!