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Starred Review from School Library Journal for "The Door By The Staircase"

Kelly Murphy's new book for Disney-Hyperion, The Door By The Staircase, written by Katherine Marsh, received a second starred review, from School Library Journal:

"It's a delightful mash-up of stories and traditions; imagine Little Orphan Annie crossed with Russian folklore, plunked down in the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, NY, with a dash of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away on top.

Perhaps not a story for reluctant or struggling readers-it's relatively demanding in terms of length and vocabulary-but for those willing to tackle a rich and layered text, there's much here to enjoy."

The Door By The Staircase will be out in stores January 5th, 2016.

—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
Posted on December 1st, 2015See more news about School Library Journal, Starred Reviews

Starred Review from Kirkus for "The Door By The Staircase"

Kelly Murphy's new book for Disney-Hyperion, The Door By The Staircase, received a starred review from Kirkus:

"Will bravery, kindness, and perceptiveness be enough to earn 12-year-old orphan Mary Hayes a permanent home with Madame Zolotaya, the elderly woman who rescues her from a terrible Buffalo orphanage?

Even if readers don't know Baba Yaga, they will probably recognize that Mary's savior is a witch whose delicious meals are designed to fatten her up for the oven. "I am no one's mother" the wrinkled old woman says. Can she become one? is the underlying question, and the answer will be heartwarming to any reader. Madame Z lives in the woods outside Iris, a town full of people who profess to be masters of the occult: "con artists, fakes, and charlatans" she calls them. But there is real magic there, too, and Mary and her new friend, Jacob Kagan, son of a traveling illusionist, are determined to find it to ensure that they both will have permanent homes. There is suspense throughout and heart-stopping moments early on to draw readers into this immensely satisfying story. Woven into the traditional third-person narrative are intriguing details about magicians' secrets and mouthwatering descriptions of Russian foods: blini, mushroom and potato dumplings, kulich with farmer's cheese, and rye bread with holodetz, this last eaten on a peekneek.

Well-drawn characters, an original setting, and a satisfying resolution are the ingredients that make this carefully crafted middle-grade adventure a highly rewarding read."

The Door By The Staircase will be out in stores January 5th, 2016.
Posted on October 1st, 2015See more news about Kirkus, Starred Reviews

Starred review from School Library Journal for "The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail"

The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail received a third starred review, from School Library Journal:

"Attractive mouse's-eye-view drawings help establish the relationship between these two halves of Victorian society."








Posted on July 1st, 2013See more press about Reviews, School Library Journal, Starred Reviews

Starred review from Publishers Weekly for "The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail"

The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail received a second starred review, from Publishers Weekly:

"As endearing as Peck's Secrets at Sea, this companion novel, also set during the Victorian era and accompanied by Murphy's carefully detailed pencil illustrations, introduces a new cast of memorable mice born and bred in London... Readers will gleefully suspend disbelief as they trace Mouse Minor's exciting journey, which draws him to a life-altering revelation and surprise reunions with friends and foes."






Posted on May 13th, 2013See more press about Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Starred Reviews

Starred review from Booklist for "The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail"

The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail received a starred review from Booklist:

"Murphy's black-and-white illustrations, with pulled quote captions, add charm in spades, and there's one tipped in full-color illustration in each of the book's three main parts."








Posted on May 1st, 2013See more press about Reviews, Booklist, Starred Reviews

Starred review by Kirkus for Secrets At Sea

Secrets At Sea receives a starred review from Kirkus:

"...Whimsical language, sure characterization, unflagging adventure, even romance-all seen through Helena's relentlessly practical beady little eyes."






Posted on September 15th, 2011See more press about Reviews, Kirkus, Starred Reviews

Starred review from The Horn Book for Secrets At Sea

Secrets At Sea received a starred review from The Horn Book.









Posted on August 29th, 2011See more press about Reviews, Starred Reviews

Starred review by Publishers Weekly for Secrets At Sea

Secrets At Sea received a starred review from Publishers Weekly:

"...Readers-especially fans of Beatrix Potter-will revel in the detailed descriptions of mouse-sized joys, woes, and love connections, all beautifully depicted in Murphy's soft pencil illustrations."






Posted on August 22nd, 2011See more press about Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Starred Reviews

Brand-New Baby Blues starred review by School Library Journal



Brand-New Baby Blues received a Star review from School Library Journal:

"Through rhyme and three repeating stanzas, a child laments about the good ol' days and realizes, "Now everything is different,/everything is changed./I'm not the one and only./My whole life's rearranged." The normal emotions of sadness, disappointment, jealousy, and anger follow when her parents shower her new brother with attention, pass her stuffed bear down to him, and share the hugs that were once all hers. Then, with just the right words from Mom and Dad about her uniqueness, and some positive observations, her attitude changes. She looks forward to the days when her new sibling will not be a baby anymore, but instead be a brother she can play catch with and a game of hide-and-seek. Oil, acrylic, and gel are used to create gentle hues. What makes this telling of the new brother/sister theme stand out is how well the verses are in sync with the illustrations, layout, and the characters' facial expressions. Great for sharing with a group or one-on-one."

-Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Posted on February 1st, 2010See more press about Awards and Lists, Reviews, School Library Journal, Starred Reviews

Masterpiece starred review by Publishers Weekly

Masterpiece received a Star review from Publishers Weekly:

"Broach (Shakespeare's Secret) packs this fast-moving story with perennially seductive themes: hidden lives and secret friendships, miniature worlds lost to disbelievers. Philosophy pokes through, as does art appreciation (one curator loves Dürer for "his faith that beauty reveals itself, layer upon layer, in the smallest moments"), but never at the expense of plot. In her remarkable ability to join detail with action, Broach is joined by Murphy (Hush, Little Dragon), who animates the writing with an abundance of b&w drawings. Loosely implying rather than imitating the Old Masters they reference, the finely hatched drawings depict the settings realistically and the characters, especially the beetles, with joyful comic license. This smart marriage of style and content bridges the gap between the contemporary beat of the illustrations and Renaissance art. Broach and Kelly show readers something new, and, as Marvin says, "When you [see] different parts of the world, you [see] different parts of yourself.""
Posted on August 25th, 2008See more press about Awards and Lists, Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Starred Reviews, Masterpiece

Masterpiece starred review by School Library Journal

Masterpiece received a Star review from School Library Journal:

"Broach combines discussion about the art of Albrecht Dürer with a powerful tale of friendship in a novel that is entertaining and full of adventure. Marvin is a beetle, and he and his family live in the Manhattan kitchen that belongs to the Pompaday family. When James receives a pen-and-ink drawing set for his 11th birthday, Marvin discovers that he is a bug with artistic talent. Although he can't speak to James, they soon bond in a true interspecies friendship, and their escapades begin. Because of Marvin's wonderful drawing, presumed to be James's work, the boy is recruited to create a fake Dürer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to help trap an art thief. Marvin produces the forgery, but he soon realizes that the original artwork is in danger. Only by placing his life on the line and relying on James's help can he save the masterpiece. Broach's projection of beetle life, complete with field trips to the family's solarium and complex uses of human discards for furniture and meals, is in the best tradition of Mary Norton's The Borrowers (Harcourt, 1953) and similar classic looks at miniature life. Murphy's illustrations add perspective and humor, supporting the detailed narrative. A masterpiece of storytelling."

-Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI