From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—These four gently tongue-in-cheek adventures pit clever youngsters against unusual creatures—pirate rats who steal DVDs, aliens, a mechanical dragon, and a misunderstood sea serpent. Each time, clueless adult authorities ignore or are stymied by the supposed menace, but the hero is able to resolve the situation successfully and nonviolently. There is a strong emphasis on creativity and individual initiative, and a gentle reminder that brains are better than brawn. Black-and-white cartoon illustrations complement the lighthearted tone. The positive message and amusing stories make this a good choice for younger fantasy fans.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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Nix, best known as the creator of the Old Kingdom series, beginning with Sabriel (1995), and the Keys to the Kingdom series, which starts with Mister Monday (2003), shows his lighter side in an entertaining collection of four fantasy stories. These include "Blackbread sic} the Pirate," in which a boy on his way to the video store shrinks to pint-size and agrees to join a band of swashbuckling rats, and "Serena and the Sea Serpent," in which a girl volunteers to be sacrificed to a sea serpent and discovers the very different advantages of being a know-it-all and of being a penguin. Divided into chapters and fine for reading aloud, the stories feature bright, level-headed children in situations that call for courage in the face of surprising and even fantastic circumstances. Droll ink drawings with gray washes illustrate these fresh, childlike, and engaging stories. Phelan, Carolyn