Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review of The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes by Kelly Easton

Here is the review I wrote for School Library Journal. Find all the August 2009 reviews at the SLJ website.

EASTON, Kelly. The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes. illus. by Greg Swearingen. 217p. CIP. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. 2009. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-375-83771-5; PLB $18.99. ISBN 978-0-375-93771-2. LC 2008022119.

Gr 3–6—Ten-year-old Liberty has never been let out of her decrepit house on 33 Gooch Street, and her massively obese mother, Sal, doesn't dare leave either. Only Liberty's dreadful father, Mal, a self-described "friggin' genius," comes and goes. As Liberty discovers one day, he really is a genius (the evil sort) and has invented, among other things, potions for communicating with animals and for levitating. Using these devices to escape, Liberty sets off on a search for what she feels must be heaven on Earth—a boarding school called the Sullivan School—meeting friends, dodging scoundrels, and having adventures along the way. Liberty's reactions to the quirky folks and talking animals she meets and the strange situations she finds herself in are naive and full of wonderment, but also commonsensical. While the circumstances are reminiscent of those in Roald Dahl's work, particularly the many intensely nasty grown-ups, the understated humor and friendly, imperturbable tone of the narration bring to mind the fantasies of Eva Ibbotson. The charming illustrations sprinkled throughout add immense appeal to this warm, delightfully odd fantasy.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library