|Crooked sixpence (Uncommoners)|
Author: Bell, Jennifer
Book one--Ivy Sparrow and her big brother Seb discover a city beneath London where ordinary objects have magical powers.
|Illustrator:||Mountford, Karl James|
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 187721
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 70265
School Library Journal (11/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2016 Gr 4–6—Debut author Bell introduces Ivy Sparrow, 11, and her older brother, Seb. The children are staying with their grandmother, who is rushed to the hospital after a fall. Within hours, events start to spiral out of control, with kidnappings, death threats, creepy figures, and a race against time to solve an old mystery. Ivy and Seb are swept into a world of adventure, magic, and intrigue. As the story progresses, they discover that their grandmother is from a secret underground world called Lundinor, under the city of London. The city is filled with magical people and common objects used in uncommon ways. The characters are well-rounded and likable. The language is rich and detailed and helps illuminate the setting. Students will dive right into this journey and not want to come up for air. The illustrations add to the dark and scary tone. VERDICT Fans of classic fantasy with a dash of horror will enjoy this new series starter.—Megan McGinnis, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2017 In this first book of a new series, Ivy and her older brother, Seb, explore the strange world that their beloved grandmother, Sylvie, came from. Lundinor is vaguely similar to the London the kids have left, but it contains important magical elements. Seb and Ivy must learn the rules of this world, identify allies and enemies, and do all of that fast, because their parents are being held hostage to in exchange for Sylvie’s handing over some powerful magic. Ivy and Seb are very different from each other in personality, in their approaches to this mysterious new adventure, and in their abilities, giving readers constrasting identification points. The world itself is effectively developed, with a necessary amount of exposition slowing the action on occasion, though British author Bell keeps most of it authentically folded into the dialogue. There’s plenty of potential here to suggest a return visit would be worth it, particularly now that most of the world building is in place. Lively black and white art has an enjoyably cartoonish vibe. AS - Copyright 2017 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 11/15/2016 When Ivy’s grandma Sylvia takes a tumble and ends up in the emergency room, it sets off a startling chain of events that leads Ivy and her brother, Seb, to a magical underground marketplace called Lundinor. There “uncommoners” barter seemingly everyday objects imbued with whimsical powers. It’s a dazzling discovery, but they’re more worried about the oddly dressed constables eager to lock them up for some unknown crime. More unsettling still is that their beloved grandmother is somehow connected to recent troubles in Lundinor, and the real culprits have kidnapped Ivy and Seb’s parents. With the help of an intrepid young uncommoner, Ivy and Seb use their smarts to rescue their parents and clear their family name. Bell infuses her debut novel with clever, pun-based magic—glasses look like spectacles, before transforming into goblets, for instance—and her world building and scene setting in Lundinor are particularly rich. While the plot sometimes relies on too-convenient occurrences, the slightly spooky atmosphere, well-paced action, and engaging mystery surrounding Ivy and Seb’s ancestors will appeal to middle-graders who love fantasy quest stories. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.