A Flicker of Courage

Putnam. (Tales of Triumph and Disaster!). Jan. 2020. 256p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781984813053.
Gr 4-8–Emotionally and physically abused by his parents, Henry relies on his vivid imagination to escape a bleak home life. But when disaster strikes for his popular classmate Apollo and his family, Henry comes out of his shell to help. Evil Vlad Luxor, who rules their town, has turned Apollo’s younger brother into a lizard, and Henry recruits kids to break the spell. With the help of Henry’s ingenious grandfather and a brilliant librarian, the group realizes how powerful they are, both alone and as a team. This conversational series starter deals with intense and painful emotions. The hopeful tone is encouraging, and the focus on the power of knowledge and books may lead readers back to the stacks.
VERDICT This magical adventure is a good fit for fans of Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven and Karuna Riazi’s The Gauntlet, as well as readers dealing with a home life like Henry’s.

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