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Book review: Moko Magic, Carnival Chaos

 

Tracy Baptiste’s carnival tale carries all the wonder, joy, strangeness, and vibrancy of the Caribbean culture it springs from.

Cover of Moko Magic: Carnival ChaosTwelve-year-old Misty and her mom have arrived in Brooklyn from Trinidad, just before the annual carnival celebrations on Labor Day. Misty misses her home and is finding it hard to adjust to living with her cousins, Brooke and Aiden, in her new surroundings.

Then, strange things begin to happen. A ball of fluff and feathers turns into a creature that can move of its own volition. A treat from one of her aunties enables the cousins to breathe fire. And most disturbing of all, Misty begins seeing unsettling visions of the future.

It turns out, Misty and her cousins come from a long line of mokos, people with special powers meant to protect their community. Misty has visions of impending danger, Aiden can heal, and Brooke can protect. They begin to learn more about their powers. But as they do, they also discover that some evil force is trying to absorb the mokos’ powers and stop the carnival. And this just won’t do. With grit and determination, the three cousins fight back as best they can, trying to stop this ancient evil before it destroys the carnival parade.

Steeped in rich Caribbean culture and grounded in the love of family, this is a delightful tale of kids coming into their own and claiming their powers. Readers are sure to enjoy the Caribbean and West African folklore with a modern twist.

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