Never Girls

never girls cover

Never Girls #7: A Pinch of Magic

By Kiki Thorpe, Illustrated by Jana Christy


Published by: RH/Disney (July 22, 2014)

Available in: paperback, library binding, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review there were eight books in the Never Girls series, with more scheduled in the coming months.


Who wouldn’t want to go to Never Land?

Never Girls #7: A Pinch of Magic is based on the brilliant premise that there’s an angle to the Peter Pan story especially for girls. With a nod to Narnia, four friends have access to that mythical place through one’s closet. In Never Land, the four make friends with fairies, who provide magical adventures.

In this seventh book in the series, there’s an alternating plot that has both the real girls and their fairy counterparts baking sweet concoctions. The stories collide when the fairies are called upon to help the real girls, in the real world. It’s a smart twist: just like Pan had to have his shadow sewed on by Wendy, so our protagonists have to rescue a fairy from the freezer aisle at the grocery store. Kind of funny stuff.

Part Rainbow Magic Fairies, part Pony Pals, this fluffy version of Pan is accompanied by dreamy, soft illustrations. Artist Christy does an excellent job making clear the scale of the real-girl world and the fairy world, and keeping both a timeless quality and a contemporary ambiance.

This might not be the high art of J.M. Barrie, but as a contemporary chapter book, it’s got some serious fairy dust.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

Queen Kylie Jean


kylie jean cover

Pirate Queen (Kylie Jean)

By Marci Peschke, Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning


Publisher: Picture Window Books (February 1, 2013)

Available in: paperback, hardcover, Kindle

At the time of this review, there were 10 Kylie Jean chapter books available.


She’s such a girly girl.

The Kylie Jean series, new and quite astute from a marketing angle (more about that later), centers on a Southern belle whose biggest dream is to grow up to be a beauty queen. All pink and frothy from cover to content, Kylie Jean is one spun-sugar miss in more ways than one.

Each book in the series crowns Kylie Jean queen of something: rodeo, blueberry, dancing, cupcake and singing are some of the topics.

Pirate Queen Kylie Jean is fun because it’s a Halloween book, and who doesn’t love a smattering of pirate lingo thrown in? Aye, matey, this swashbuckling adventure has some sea legs, pink Jolly Roger and all.

The Southern aspect also is a draw for those who hanker for or love the American South. With names like Peachtree Lane, Lickskillet Road and Momma, you know where this is set. And that’s kind of cool.

The cartoonish, contemporary artwork is evocative of a bobblehead, but it fits the simple language and plot. Still, it’s a sweet story that touches on kindness, and there are some extras at the back that raise the heft of the content: discussion topics, a recipe, a glossary and more.

The publisher is quite wise to launch a number of books at once, so those readers who cotton to Kylie Jean have a lot to choose from. The series launched just two years ago with the first four books, and then added six more books earlier this year. Marketing genius. This is important because so many chapter book series are a generation or two down the road, and although Miss Kylie Jean might be old-style Southern, she’s one very current girl.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….