cover image Emma and the Blue Genie

Emma and the Blue Genie

Cornelia Funke, trans. from the German by Oliver Latsch, illus. by Kerstin Meyer. Random, $9.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-385-37540-5

Funke (the Inkheart trilogy) spins her fictional magic in this witty novel, written in 2002 and newly translated by Latsch, starring an eight-year-old girl with four pesky brothers. At night, Emma and her dog Tristan escape to the chilly beach, where “the moon poured a silver highway onto the water,” at the end of which she envisions a warm land with camels and palm trees. One evening, she finds a bottle containing Karim, a despondent blue genie who has been left “as small as a desert hedgehog and as weak as a nosebug” ever since an evil yellow genie stole his enchanted nose ring. Emma and Tristan accompany Karim back to his home turf—the land of her dreams—on his flying carpet. In a swift-moving sequence of events, the villainous genie kidnaps and cages Emma and Tristan before they and Karim collude to defeat him. Funke’s visual descriptions and playful dialogue lift this above standard good-versus-evil fantasy fare, while Meyer’s full-color spot illustrations underpin the text’s humor. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Jenny Savill, Andrew Nurnberg Associates. (Oct.)