Juliet Dove, Queen of Love (Magic Shop Series)

Juliet Dove, Queen of Love (Magic Shop Series)

4.6 5
by Bruce Coville

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Shy Juliet Dove leaves Mr. Elives' magic shop with Helen of Troy's amulet--a virtual man magnet. Juliet doesn't know what she's got, but soon every boy in town is swoony for her. Yet, much as she'd like to lose all the unwanted attention, she can't: The amulet won't come off!

A sidesplittingly funny, heartbreaking whirlwind of a… See more details below


Shy Juliet Dove leaves Mr. Elives' magic shop with Helen of Troy's amulet--a virtual man magnet. Juliet doesn't know what she's got, but soon every boy in town is swoony for her. Yet, much as she'd like to lose all the unwanted attention, she can't: The amulet won't come off!

A sidesplittingly funny, heartbreaking whirlwind of a book about the high cost of loving, from the award-winning author of My Teacher Is an Alien and The Unicorn Chronicles.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the fifth installment of Bruce Coville's Magic Shop series, Juliet Dove, Queen of Love, a mysterious woman gives shy, plain Juliet a magic amulet. Suddenly, all the boys in her class start noticing her-and falling in love with her. Juliet doesn't want all the attention, but she can't get the amulet to come off. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sixth-grader Juliet Dove is painfully shy, although she is capable of responding rather wickedly if teased. In this volume of Coville's "Magic Shop" books, Juliet wanders into the mysterious, ever-shifting shop, where she acquires a strange ivory amulet that causes all the boys she knows to become enamored of her. How embarrassing! The quest to rid herself of the charm, which becomes much more weighty when Juliet discovers that Cupid is trapped inside, takes her to unexpected places and introduces her to Greek deities Athena, Eris (goddess of discord), Hera, and Aphrodite. Along the way Juliet finds the courage to overcome her shyness, learns a bit about Greek mythology (as will readers), and something about love and discord as well. Although this story is not as engaging as, for example, Coville's Magic Shop tale of Jeremy Thatcher and his dragon, nor is it (as claimed on the flap) "side splittingly funny," middle readers who like the idea of magic suddenly appearing in the lives of kids like themselves will probably enjoy the reappearance of crotchety shop proprietor S. H. Elives and the spooky librarian Hyacinth Priest. How do they manage to pop up in so many different towns? And what about the two talking messenger rats who sprout wings to muddle the situation even more? Well, that's magic for you, and, judging from the final message the rodents deliver to Juliet, middle readers who love such mysterious happenings will be meeting both Juliet and Mr. Elives'intriguing shop again. 2003, Harcourt, Ages 8 to 12.
— Barbara L. Talcroft
The boy Haoyou is fascinated by the novelty of a thirteenth-century Chinese seaport, but pleasure turns to horror when his father is tossed onto a makeshift kite and killed before his eyes. Haoyou's Uncle Bo gives him to a circus where he flies bound to a huge kite, constantly seeking his father's spirit in the clouds. What he finds instead is the acceptance of the Mongols, a people unlike himself, and the strength of character to act independently. In a thrilling climax, he soars in the great typhoon that turned back the Mongol invasion of Japan. On the last page of the book, he is reunited with his mother and friends on a boat. McCaughrean's fluid prose quickly makes the story real and its context concrete. The exotic surroundings do not detract from the central theme of obligation to authority versus fulfilling one's own sense of right. Haoyou feels his father's spirit as simultaneously protective and threatening. The false father figure of Uncle Bo tests Haoyou's core value of obedience to the breaking point. The owner of the circus, a Chinese nobleman in disguise, labors to fulfill his oath to a dead father despite misgivings. Haoyou's struggle to be his own man will strike a chord with many young people. In England, this book won a Smartie Prize and the 2001 BBC Blue Peter Prize for Best Book to Keep Forever. Readers of this year's Newbery Winner, A Single Shard (Houghton Mifflin, 2001/VOYA April 2002) by Linda Sue Park or her earlier The Kite Fighter (Clarion, 2000/VOYA August 2000) will welcome this story of a boy coming of age long ago and far away. The background of the book is generally well researched with an explanatory note to clarify the author's major departure fromhistory. PLB
— Eve Nyren Okawa
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2002: I would double star this if KLIATT allowed such a thing! And it isn't even really a YA novel as we generally consider them. It's quite amazingly imaginative, exotic, and challenging-and it is in the genre of historical fiction, not fantasy. The kite rider is a 12-year-old boy, living in China in the 13th century, at the time of the Kublai Khan. His name is Haoyou. He is talented with his hands and courageous, with a generous spirit; he is also naive and immature. It isn't only Haoyou's story, however, since his older cousin Mipeng, a young woman who is brilliantly insightful, is an essential part of this novel and shares his adventures, saving him from his naivete, which often results in foolishness. The fact that his naivete rests on the Chinese philosophy of blind obedience to one's superiors and to older relatives, even if they should prove to be mean-spirited and corrupt, ups the ante of interest in the meaning of family unity and sacrifice. The book is lengthy for a children's book, over 300 pages, enough to be filled with adventures and characters, all of which are dazzling. Haoyou does ride a kite, in a harness, flying high in the sky, making money from the awestruck audience who believe he can commune with their dead ancestors up in the clouds. He and Mipeng join an itinerant circus traveling to the court of Kublai Khan, the most powerful man in China now that his Mongol warriors have invaded China and conquered the Chinese people. The young man who has taken in Haoyou and Mipeng, who loves Mipeng, has his own agenda for taking his circus to the presence of the Kublai Khan. He too is wrestling with the Chinese way ofobedience to parents, even if it means death. The breathtaking images of so much of the story, of Haoyou flying, of the acrobats in the circus, the Mongol way of execution that avoids spilling blood on the ground, of the den of iniquity, so to speak, where Haoyou's mother must work, the ghastly uncle who must be obeyed, the other villain of the story, an evil man who lusts after Haoyou's mother and seeks the family's destruction-all make for a truly marvelous story. McCaughrean has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in England for A Pack of Lies; this book too proves her expertise as an author. KLIATT Codes: JS*-Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, HarperCollins, Trophy, 307p., Ages 12 to 18.
— Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Haoyou is a 12 year old in 13th century China, just conquered by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan. He goes to see his beloved father off on another shipping journey when wicked first mate Di Chou puts in motion a terrible plot. The superstitious Chinese always send aloft a person tied to a large kite to test the wind and the omens to ascertain whether the journey will be profitable. Haoyou's father, Pei, is sent on this mission, and fear makes his heart stop. Haoyou knows Di Chou intentionally arranged this in order to marry Pei's beautiful widow. Adding to the family's problems is the pompous and greedy Uncle Bo, who will do anything for some gold. Haoyou volunteers, somewhat to his horror, to be the kite rider for a ship on which he and his cousin Mipeng have stashed a drunken Di Chou the day before the wedding. The description of Haoyou's combination of complete fear and exhilaration is stirring. The mysterious Miao Je invites Haoyou to join his traveling circus as a kite rider where he becomes a star attraction, always seeking his father's spirit during these dangerous, gut-churning flights. Eventually they meet up with Kublai Khan and Maio Je's secrets are revealed. Details about superstition, codes of behavior and obedience, politics, racism, and daily life in China at this time are superbly conveyed in a beautifully written tale. The full cast recording of the novel by Geraldine McCaughrean (HarperCollins, 2002) is not quite convincing, although narrator Cynthia Bishop is excellent. None of Miao Je's charisma is audible nor is Uncle Bo's character portrayed in a seriously sinister way. However, the story is so wonderful that the recording will surely grip listeners.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An ancient-and terrifying-maritime practice becomes the impetus for a cracking good adventure story set in 13th-century China, after the Mongol conquest. Haoyou's sailor father dies when sent up on a hatch cover, kite-style, to "test the wind," and he, his beautiful mother, and his baby sister are left in the care of his rapacious and dishonest Great-uncle Bo. With the help of his world-weary cousin Mipeng, a young widow who has been forced into the role of medium, Haoyou manages to avoid the worst of his great-uncle's schemes for himself and his mother, but real escape comes only when he comes to the attention of the charismatic owner of a circus. The Great Miao has heard of the practice of testing the wind, has seen Haoyou himself lofted into the air, and has determined that a kite-rider will be the central act of a show he intends to play before the conqueror Kublai Khan himself. McCaughrean (Roman Myths, 2001, etc.) takes her characters on a dizzying adventure across China even as she takes Haoyou on an inner journey to confront his deeply-held beliefs and prejudices. Haoyou and, to a lesser extent, Mipeng and the Great Miao all struggle with the accepted Confucian teaching that obedience to one's elders must be observed at all costs. While the protagonists' decisions regarding obedience and individualism may not have been the norm at the time, they are not out of place for this moment of great cultural upheaval, and their development is sensitively and at times wryly charted. Haoyou's aerial ecstasy springs vividly off the page for some truly thrilling moments as he soars on his kite while Great-uncle Bo provides a low-humor counterpoint. An author's note follows to contextualize the13th-century and to explain the inspiration for Haoyou's unusual vocation. Fast-paced and densely plotted, absorbing, and at times even hilarious. (Fiction. 11-15)
From the Publisher
"Coville's easy style works well in a tale that has its share of both humor and heartache."—Booklist
"Surprising depth, with musings on honor, power, strength, courage, and, above all, love . . . Interweaves mythological characters with realistic modern ones, keeping readers truly absorbed."—School Library Journal

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Magic Shop Series , #5
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Testing the Winds

Gou Haoyou knew that his father's spirit lived among the clouds. For he had seen him go up there with a soul and come down again without one.

It happened down at the harbor, the day the Chabi put to sea. When she set sail, Haoyou's father, Gou Pei, would be among her crew and gone for months on end. So Haoyou went with him, down to the docks, to make the most of him on this, their last day together. “When I get home this time,” said Pei, “we must see about you becoming an apprenticed seaman.”

Haoyou's heart quickened with fear and pride at the thought of stepping out of childhood and into his father's saltwater world.

For the first time ever, Pei took him aboard'showed him where the anchor was lodged, where the sailors slept, how the ship was steered, where the cargo would be stowed. And the biggest excitement of all was still to come: Soon, the Chabi's captain would be “testing the wind,” checking the omens for a prosperous voyage.

Farther along the harbor wall, a great commotion started up, as a ship, newly arrived from the south, disembarked its passengers: a traveling circus. For the first time in his life, Haoyou saw elephants ponderously picking their way across the gangplank, while tumblers somersaulted off the ship's rail and onto the dockside. There were acrobats in jade-green, close-fitting costumes, twirling banners of green and red, and jugglers and stilt walkers, and a man laden from head to foot with noisy birdcages. There were horses, too, ridden ashore across the sagging gangplank as recklessly as if it were a broad, stone bridge by Tartar horsemenin sky-blue shirts.

“Ragamuffin beggars,” grunted Haoyou's father -- which made Haoyou laugh, since the gorgeous circus people, finding his father's tattered rice-straw jacket, would probably have fed it to one of their elephants. The Gou family was not exactly the cream of elegant Dagu society. Still, he sensed that he should not ask to see the circus perform: Circus people were obviously not respectable -- especially when they included Tartars.

The ship on which his father, Pei, was about to set sail had a Tartar name now. Last season she had had a perfectly good Chinese name, but in an effort to curry favor with the conquering barbarians, the captain had renamed her after the Khan's favorite wife: Chabi. Pei muttered gloomily about it. Her hull had been retimbered, a new layer of wood hammered on over the old, so that she was beamier than the year before. “It looks as if the Khan's wife has been eating too many cakes,” said Pei. He laughed and put a loving arm round Haoyou's shoulders.

“Impertinent dog,” said a voice close behind them, and the Chabi's first mate took hold of Pei by his jacket and pushed him over the edge of an open hatchway.

It was no great way to fall, but Pei landed awkwardly, his leg twisted under him, and lay gasping on top of the sacks of rice that were the ship's provisions. Haoyou went to the hatchway and lowered one leg over its edge, going to help his father. But the first mate took hold of him by the collar, wrestled him along to the gangplank, and threw him off the ship.

Haoyou wondered whether to run home and tell his mother, or stay and see what happened. His father injured on the eve of a voyage? It was not good, not lucky. Lucky for Haoyou (who hated his father going away for months on a voyage), but not for the family dependent on his sailor's wages.

Haoyou decided his mother should know, and turned to run. But he found his way barred by the corpulent bellies of the merchants mustering on the dockside. Word had gone out that the Chabi was testing the wind this morning, and it seemed as if every merchant in Dagu had hurried down to judge the omens for themselves. The prosperity of the whole voyage depended on how the “wind tester” behaved.

Only if it flew well would they entrust their cargoes to the Chabi. If it flew badly, they would use some rival ship.

It was for this magnificent sight that Gou Pei had brought his son to the harbor; Haoyou had asked a hundred times to see it.

“I'm not sure,” his mother had said. “What about the poor soul on the hurdle?”

But Pei had only shrugged and said that worse things happened at sea.

Haoyou looked back at the ship. He did not want to miss the testing of the wind. Perhaps his father had only twisted his ankle, and would be fit to sail after all. The boy stood on tiptoe to estimate the depth of the crowd, his chances of pushing his way through them. None, he decided, and stayed where he was.

A strong, gusty breeze was blowing. Members of the crowd held up wetted fingers and nodded sagely. All the signs were auspicious. A cheerful sunlight brightened all the colors in their silken clothes, bleached the rust-red sails of the Chabi.

A foreigner stood among the crowd -- neither Chinese nor Mongol, but a tan-colored man with eyes shaped like a horse's or a dog's. The Chinese man alongside him was explaining the process of testing the wind.

“A hurdle is hooked to the end of a rope and set flying in the breeze . . .”

“Like a flag?” asked the foreigner.

“Not a flag exactly . . . more like a kite. Pardon my foolishness: I don't believe you have the word in your language: ‘kite.' As the men tug on the rope's end, the hurdle rises up higher and higher on the wind. If it rises up straight, the voyage will prosper. If it flies out so” -- the guide's hand, in darting out at an angle, dislodged Haoyou's cap -- “there may be problems...

The Kite Rider. Copyright © by Geraldine McCaughrean. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Coville's easy style works well in a tale that has its share of both humor and heartache."—Booklist

"Surprising depth, with musings on honor, power, strength, courage, and, above all, love . . . Interweaves mythological characters with realistic modern ones, keeping readers truly absorbed."—School Library Journal

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