cover image Spark and the League of Ursus

Spark and the League of Ursus

Robert Repino. Quirk, $16.99 (216p) ISBN 978-1-68369-166-2

A secret world of sentient toys comes to life in this gently creepy, Toy Story–tinged adventure. Spark is sworn to protect 11-year-old Loretta; the girl is getting a little old for stuffed animals, but she and her 12-year-old brother, Matthew, both movie buffs, use their toys to star in homemade films. When a mysterious monster, “half man, half scorpion,” emerges from a portal in their home, Spark vows to confront her foe and rescue the children it has been kidnapping for its own sinister purposes. Spark recruits a ragtag crew, including Sir Reginald, her mentor and Matthew’s own devoted bear; a cowardly sock monkey named Zed; and Rana, an Amazon Princess doll. Striving to live up to the ideals of the legendary League of Ursus—the secret society of teddy bears that guard humankind—Spark must turn this ragtag band of toys into a true team, one capable of tracking evil back to its home and dealing with it once and for all. Repino’s (Mort(e), for adults) middle grade debut is engaging, balancing whimsy with menace as he focuses on the emotional lives of the toys and their human companions. With its exploration of themes such as family, loyalty, bravery, and the power of imagination, this story is both entertaining and uplifting. Ages 9–12. [em]Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary. (Apr.) [/em]