by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
Interesting twist on the Piped Piper fairy tale — 14-year-old Callie’s backstage pass to hear the rock band Brass Rat only makes the secret to their hypnotic music skills more elusive. When all the other children disappear in town, it’s up to Callie to put all the pieces together, but will she figure it out in time?
Of course, we see where the plot is going, but the fantastical/fairy element gives the story way more oomph; that was the part that kept me interested — it had an element of darkness, too, that makes the Pied Piper have a different veneer than the skipping flute player of old. I didn’t fall in love with Callie as a character, but I thought she served her purpose as spunky-problem-solver-with-heart good enough. While I wasn’t always dying to pick it up myself, I think middle-grade lovers of fairy tales and FAIRY tales will like the combination of the two in this one.