This completely delightful children's fantasy will charm kids and adults alike with its account of adventure, secrets and loyalty among friends. Fast-paced and populated with wonderful characters, this new series is sure to please readers looking for something different to read.

Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme -- known as Ven -- has just passed his 50th birthday and still has no beard. The youngest son of the famous Polypheme shipwrights and a member of the long-lived Nain race, he dreams of reaching his majority -- which will happen when he grows his beard -- and sailing the ships his family builds.

When he pulls the short straw and takes the latest ship on its final inspection, he gets the adventure he's been looking for his whole life. From encounters with pirates to a rescue at sea that gives him his first glimpse of real magic, Ven ends up in a lot of tricky situations but always comes out ahead. (STARSCAPE, Sep., 368 pp., $17.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs