Are you still waiting for the next "Harry Potter" book? I have just
 discovered a three book compilation from one of my favorite authors that
 will fill the void. "Eva Ibbotson Collection", has Ms. Ibbotson's three
 masterpieces of mystery and magic! I've already reviewed her book
 entitled "The Secret of Platform 13". As you may recall, this story has
 similarities to the "Harry Potter" series where the opening to another
 world is by way of a platform at a train station. Along with this
 masterpiece, there is "Which Witch", and "Island of the Aunts". ["Which
Witch" spins a tale about a blonde girl witch who is trying to become a
great magical witch, but has great difficulty because she is just too
 But the longest of the three stories in the collection is "Island of the
Aunts", illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. This story takes you to an island
where three spinster sisters, along with their very old papa, live. They
 take care of many different types of sea creatures that come to the island
for refuge and care. It seems that more and more animals are coming and
 the three women can't keep up with the animals' needs. So, they come up
with a plan to kidnap some children from the mainland. They decide to
"borrow" three children whom the parents don't seem to care about and
 where the children wouldn't mind leaving for a spell. They find two
children that fit the profile. But when one of the aunts comes upon a very
spoiled and mean-spirited boy, she decides against taking him. When he
 accidentally smells the chloroform and faints, she panics and takes him to
the island anyway. This mistake will eventually become the three aunts
 undoing. But not before you become very well acquainted with the two good
children that they've borrowed.
Minette and Fabio eventually find that they love this beautiful island and
 enjoy taking care of the orphaned seals, a puffin with a broken leg,
stranded jellyfish, even an eel with a skin disease. But when they see
 what awaits them in the de-oiling shed, they become speechless. What they
 find inside tiled walls, lying in large blue painted tubs are mermaids.
They soon discover a large hidden lake where they observe another
 unbelievable creature, a wingless dragon. But to their relief, he isn't at
 all dangerous, in fact, he keeps old papa company from time to time. When
they come upon the boobrie, a very large bird, twice their size, they are
again completely surprised. They soon find out that this unusual bird is
having problems trying to lay eggs. Needless to say, these children are
kept so busy, they don't have time to wish they were back home where their
lives were miserable. Except for Lambert, who wails and screams for
television and a cell phone, their lives are filled with excitement and
In the meantime, you read about what their parents are finding out back
home in London. The aunts are on billboards and wanted posters throughout
the country. There are many more adventures and twists to the fates of all
involved. There are also great pictures drawn by the renowned Kevin
Hawkes, as well as humor sprinkled throughout.
There are pictures throughout the other two stories also. "Which Witch" is
illustrated by Annabel Large and "The Secret of Platform 13" is
illustrated by Sue Porter. This collection will be perfect for children
ages 9 through 12.

"Jabuti The Tortoise, A Trickster Tale From The Amazon" by Gerald

McDermott, has to be the most vibrant, colorful picture book I've ever
come across. Any child of any age will be drawn to it for its incredible
color, if for no other reason. Mr. McDermott uses iridescent pinks as his
background throughout the book which makes the oranges, greens, blues and
yellows really stand out. Jabuti, himself, is flashy with the colorful
stripes on his shell. Even the black on the vulture looks even blacker
against this brilliant pink. The story is based on an old tribal folk tale
from the rain forest. Jabuti loves to play his flute, but he tricks the
Jaguar into chasing his tail and the whale to be pulled by the tapir.
You'll have to read what happens to Jabuti when the jealous vulture takes
him high up into the sky. Great reading and viewing for any age. But
beware, you may need to view it with sunglasses!

Newton's Book News