A spine-tingling tale rooted in Caribbean folklore about an ordinary girl who must use her extraordinary bravery--and a bit of magic--to save her island home from jumbies, the scary spirits that haunt the forest.
Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?
When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market the next day, she knows something unexpected is about to happen. And when this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, Corinne is sure that danger is in the air. She soon finds out that bewitching her father, Pierre, is only the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.
PRAISE FOR THE JUMBIES:
“Endlessly addictive and hypnotic . . . Baptiste has a lot of fun remixing the classic Haitian folktale The Magic Orange Tree, while adding her own original touches.” —Essence
“A well written tale full of action with enough scary elements to satisfy fans of Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm.” —School Library Journal
“It’s refreshing to see a fantasy with its roots outside Europe . . . This is a book worth reading simply for its originality.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Entrancing and engaging . . . Baptiste enters an all-new folktale adaptation into our regular fantasy lore . . . Original. Haunting.” —A Fuse #8 Production
A Washington Post Kids Post Book Club Selection
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Baptiste (Angel's Grace) mines Caribbean folklore for her second novel. The jumbies are ancient, shape-shifting spirits living amid old-growth mahogany forests, feared and whispered about by humans. Eleven-year-old Corinne and her father, Pierre, don't care; they live in a cottage under the forest eaves and tend the richest garden in the village, which is dominated by an orange tree planted by Corinne's mother before her untimely death. It's a happy household despite their loss, and Corinne's fearless energy and can-do attitude are celebrated throughout. Her father, though, is lonely, and gradually falls under the spell of Severine, a jumbie in human disguise, embittered and seeking revenge. The storytelling pace is slow and descriptive Baptiste takes seriously the job of familiarizing readers with what, for many, will be an unfamiliar setting and culture. It's not until Severine appears in Pierre's cottage, a quarter of the way through the book, that a plot begins to takes shape. What the story lacks in page-turning momentum, however, is made up for in its vivid evocation of Corinne's island home. Ages 8 12.