________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 23 . . . . February 17, 2012


Kendra Kandlestar and the Crack in Kazah. (Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar, Book 4).

Lee Edward Fodi.
Dallas, TX: Brown Books, 2011.
282 pp., hardcover, $20.95.
ISBN 978-1612540-18-4

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Deborah Mervold.

**** /4



If you are familiar at all with [Kendra Kandlestar’s] adventures, then you know she comes from the quiet land of Een, tucked between the cracks of here and there. The Eens, of course, are an ancient race – some say older than even Elves or Dwarves. The Eens are a very small people and are known for many things: their long braids, their ability to speak to animals, and –perhaps most of all – for their shy and timid nature. Indeed, they prefer to stay hidden behind the magic curtain that protects them from the outside world. But Kendra has never been an ordinary Een. We have seen her cross river and wasteland, descend into mines and dungeons, and climb cliffs and castle towers. And now she will undertake her most difficult journey yet. Perhaps you will be surprised to know that she will end just as she has begun, for in this tale Kendra will not visit new lands. She will find herself only in those places she has been before.

Then how can this be a journey, you ask? Ah, there lies the key to this tale. Imagine, if you will, not a journey to where but a journey to when.

In this fourth book of Kendra Kandlestar’s adventures, Kendra travels back and forth in time by using the Kazah stone. Kendra is still an apprentice magician to her Uncle Griffinskitch. When their ship is under attack by the skarm, Kendra and Jinx, the grasshopper, run into their old enemy, Agent Lurk. Leerlin Lurk is captured by Kendra and her group, and readers find out that Een has been taken over by Burdock Brown and that he has made many changes, not positive for the creatures of Een. Winter Woodsong, the revered female councilor, and Griffenskitch have been expelled from the kingdom. Lurk is looking for the shard from Greeve which was explored in the third book, Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve. Griffenskitch has the mysterious purple ring or Kazah which he gives to Kendra. He tells her that he has seen her wear it and knows she is its rightful keeper.

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     Kendra is still worried that she doesn’t know the fate of her missing mother. When Kendra thinks about her mother, Oki, the mouse, notices that the ring starts to glow. The next thing that Kendra and Oki know is that they are falling through space, and they land in a familiar place but in a different season. They soon realize that they are back in Een when Kendra’s mother is a girl. Their adventures continue as they must make decisions that will make the future a better one. Kendra hopes that her mother will not leave Een in her later years but doesn’t know how to ensure that doesn’t happen. When Kendra leaves a note in her mother’s pocket, the consequences put the future in dire straits, and Kendra has to return to the past to undo her action.

     The novel is divided into 34 chapters with the chapters ending on a high point which encourages readers to continue reading. Some of the chapter beginnings use second person to involve the reader. The descriptive language provides a vivid picture for the reader, and the dialogue is realistic. The book contains 140 black and white illustrations which add humour and understanding to the text. The author has also included a map of Een and a timeline showing important dates in the history of Een. The website http://www.kendrakandlestar.com/ contains a wealth of information and activities to assist readers and teachers.

     Although it is the fourth book in the series, this book can also stand alone. It would appeal to a variety of readers, including readers of fantasy, science fiction and adventure stories. Kendra learns that there are consequences for all actions and that we don’t always realize at the time what the consequences will be. The ending certainly leads readers to the conclusion that there will be more adventures for Kendra and her associates. Kendra Kandlestar and the Crack in Kazah 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.

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold, an educator from Shellbrook, SK, is now doing faculty training and program development at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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