CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 31. . . .April 16, 2010
Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve.
Lee Edward Födi.
Dallas, TX: Brown Books, 2009.
293 pp., pbk. $10.95.
Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
Before Kendra could even think to take action, Uncle Griffinskitch flicked his staff, quickly lifting Winter out of the way. With a thud, the stone crashed in to the toadstool, right where Winter had been sitting, leaving behind nothing more than a flattened, pulpy mass.
"It seems I owe you my life, Gregor," Winter said, after taking the briefest of moments to find her wits.
"How could the statue just crumble like that?" Kendra asked.
"It was no accident, I assure you," Winter declared.
"Humph," Uncle Griffinskitch grunted. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Someone," Winter said solemnly, "is trying to kill me."
Kendra begins her third adventure with her impatience to use magic. In a mysterious beginning, Winter Woodsong, the ancient sorceress, tells Kendra that there is trouble ahead both for Kendra and the Een kingdom. Also, Winter's life is in danger from Burdock Brown who is in control of the Een council. Burdock Brown is continuing his quest for power and has now convinced the Council that they need to make it illegal for any animal to possess magic. In the last book, the animals were dismissed from their positions in the Een kingdom. Burdock has burned down Ratchet's home and taken his possessions. Both Ratchet, the raccoon, and Uncle Griffinskitch are thrown into the dungeon on Burdock's authorization.
Kendra is the daughter of a sorceress, Kayla, and a gardener who have both disappeared with Kiro, Kendra's brother. In the second book, Kendra learns that Kiro is still alive and has been changed into an Unger, who are enemies of the Eens. The Eens are tiny creatures who have made a special bond with the animals in their world. Kendra's immediate goal is to find her brother, but, through mental telepathy, Uncle Griffinskitch tells Kendra to go to Winter Woodsong first. Kendra finds that Winter has disappeared.
With Burdock's increasing desire for power, he sends his men, led by the mysterious cloaked Agent Leerlin Lurk, to confiscate all magical possessions, including Kendra's wand. Through magic and the use of Fake Flakes, the wand is duplicated in appearance but not its magic. Kendra, with her animal friends, decides that they must rescue Uncle Griffinskitch first. In the night, Kendra hears someone calling her name. She realizes it is Effryn Hagglehorn who is calling her from the Maiden's Mirror. It is a magical mirror that he has given her, along with two other items, for safe keeping. The mirror is a way that they can communicate in times of danger. Effryn tells Kendra that he has just escaped from the dungeons of Queen Krake who imprisons giants, dragons and other creatures to fight in her gladiator arena called the Rumble Pit. Effryn also tells Kendra that there is a major war occurring among all five clans. Kendra says that her uncle thinks it is because of Greeve's cauldron. The cauldron had been destroyed with a great curse, and pieces are scattered. Now rumour is that the cauldron is being rebuilt so that Greeve's curse can be invoked. There is one piece missing, and Effryn tells Kendra that it is one of the items that he had given her for safekeeping. Effryn also informs Kendra that he has seen Kiro who is now Trooogul the Unger in the Rumble Pit where the creatures will be forced to fight. Effryn tells Kendra that, to get to Queen Krake's castle, she must cross Fengir Forest to reach the Seas of Ire. In the Gnome town of Ireshook, she will find a ship to take her across the water.
When Kendra touches the shard, she feels an immense power that makes her tingle. A cloaked figure appears and says she is one of their few friends. She tells Kendra to dress and leave quickly before Captain Rinkle and his men break in because of the magic that has occurred with the mirror communication. Although Kendra is reluctant to leave, she, Oki, the mouse, and Jinx, the grasshopper, gather a few possessions and are led by the stranger through a secret passage.
Their journey begins underneath the Een library with Professor Bumblebean and the stranger, who is Kendra's beloved sorceress, Winter Woodsong. In the escape with her friends, Oki and Jinx, Kendra uses the shard and realizes its power. Over the next six weeks, they face many hardships as they make their way to Ireshook. Beginning with a rock wall, a magic gate and three riddles, the three friends also encounter a witch whom they turn into a pickle, pirates who capture them and transport them to the Krake Castle, a beautiful winged deer, called Prince, held captive in the hold, a sea monster who attacks the ship, and finally the Krakes who look like a cross between a lizard and a chicken.
Nothing is as it seems, and Kendra is pulled into the lure of the shard which has both positive and negative qualities. The pirate, Dirtybeard, turns out to be the Dwarf, Pugglemud, whom Kendra had encountered while on past adventures. It is through Kendra's efforts that Pugglemud lost his underground kingdom of Umbor (told in Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger). The next time Kendra uses the shard, it is to free the deer from the ancient race of pertyons as Lurk rises from the shadows. Lurk encounters the tentacles of the monster, and Kendra is drawn into the magic of the shard and destroys the monster and the ship.
Upon being washed up on shore, Kendra struggles to the castle and finds the dungeon. She doesn't know where Jinx and Oki are. To her surprise and horror, she finds Agent Lurk is imprisoned in a cell with his cloak of invisibility. She continues on deeper into the dungeon until she finds the cage where Trooogul is being held. He is telling Kendra that she is in danger and that he will take her to the City on the Storm when arrows come out of nowhere and pin her cloak to the wall. Kendra's arms are held tight, and she is unable to reach the shard. The Queen rips the shard from Kendra's neck and throws her in a cell with Prince who was also captured. Kendra sees that Prince is no longer beautiful but ripped and torn. When he tells Kendra what happened, she realizes that, when she used the shard against the sea monster, its power also destroyed Prince. Kendra is heartbroken that it is her fault.
Kendra now understands the dark power of the shard and how she was taken in with the magic. She wanted to be strong. She wanted the power of the shard. Where are Jinx and Oki? Will Kendra and Prince be forced to fight in the Rumble Pit? How will Kendra regain possession of the shard? Can she trust Trooogul? How did Ratchet and Uncle Griffinskitch escape from the Een jail and follow Kendra and her friends to the Krake Castle? What happens next will lead into Kendra's fourth adventure as she must follow the trail of the shard to the City on the Storm.
The 282 pages of the novel are divided into thirty-four chapters. The chapters end on a high point which encourages readers to continue reading. Some of the chapter beginnings use second person to involve the reader. Vocabulary is suitable and appropriate for the intended audience. The language uses the senses to paint a vivid picture for the reader. At one point with the magic rock gate, limericks are included as the riddles. Dialogue is realistic. The author gives subtle clues to the reader about the plot. There is also humour in the book as the animals use magic to invent items which don't always work as intended. The black and white illustrations add humour and understanding to the text.
The characters are also realistic. Kendra must decide on a variety of options and realizes that sometimes what she wants doesn't work out. She learns several lessons about human nature and friendship. She also learns that what is most valuable comes only with work.
Although Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve is the third volume in a series, it works as a stand-alone read. It would appeal to a variety of readers, including readers of fantasy and adventure stories. The ending certainly leads the reader to the conclusion that there will be more adventures for Kendra and her associates. This book would be an excellent class novel for individual reading or as a read-aloud choice. It would be an excellent addition for personal, class, school and public libraries.
Deborah Mervold is an educator from Shellbrook, SK, who is now doing faculty training and program development at Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology.
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