cover image The Chaos Monster (Secrets of the Sky #1)

The Chaos Monster (Secrets of the Sky #1)

Sayantani DasGupta, illus. by Sandara Tang. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-338-76673-8

When 10-year-old Parsippany, N.J., native Kinjal witnesses his mother stretch out her arm “like it was a fire hose being rolled out” to redirect a bee midflight, he sets out to investigate the origins behind this bizarre occurrence. Upon recalling a similar story from Thakurmar Jhuli, a collection of South Asian folk and fairy tales that Kinjal’s father occasionally reads to him and his science-loving twin sister Kiya, the siblings track the book down to a locked trunk in the basement. Once they free the tome, it summons a chaos monster that dognaps the tweens’ beloved pet, as well as two winged horses, which land in the yard to whisk Kinjal and Kiya to the realm of the Sky Kingdom in pursuit. There they meet Princess Pakkhiraj, who informs the pair that the kingdom’s bees are dying and that they must uncover the cause, or unfathomable harm will come both to the kingdom and Earth. DasGupta (Rosewood) launches an energetic new series with a strong environmental focus in this Bengali folktale–inspired fantasy adventure, which teems with action and humor. Fluid b&w illustrations by Tang (the Faeries’ Promise series) depict fantastical sequences throughout. Ages 8–12. [em](July) [/em]