Books by Edith Hope Fine

WATER, WEED AND WAIT by Edith Hope Fine
Released: Aug. 10, 2010

Miss Marigold, the breezy "garden lady" at Pepper Lane Elementary, suggests turning a littered patch of hard-pan into a school garden. Between the kick-off cleanup day and a harvest party, there's plenty of mercurial industry, as volunteers frame raised beds and truck in rich soil. Mr. Barkley, a curmudgeonly neighbor with a brilliant garden, gradually warms to and aids the children's efforts. The authors (retired and practicing teachers, respectively) draw from experiences with school gardens. Miss Marigold introduces such resources as beneficial insect release ("Meet my good guys for the garden") and worm bins, and the double-spread aftermatter includes a few websites, a checklist for beginning a school garden and a border of charming photographs. However, Madden's mixed-media pictures are a disappointing pastiche of dizzyingly varied perspectives and rubbery cartoon caricatures. While some spreads successfully present scenes of cooperative activity in kid-appealing ways, the overarching visual sense is frenetic yet oddly superficial: There's little behind those grins and cross-eyes. Smart teachers will find the hook and perhaps harvest the exuberance for their own school gardens. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

This affecting tale—of a plein-air schoolroom in a deeply impoverished neighborhood populated by pepenadores (trash pickers)—springs from the real deal. Fine and Josephson have taken the story of David Lynch, who first went to Mexico in 1980 to teach children living in the Tijuana city dump, and fashioned it into a picture book. Fictional, yes, but only marginally so. Their story pivots around Armando, who scours the dump with his father all day long for anything of worth, and his thirst to join the classroom: a blue tarp on the bare ground. Though Armando's income is vital to the family, his parents come to understand that only an education will allow him to eclipse pepenadore life. The simplicity of the story is what lets it run deep, its bite of realism; no sermons are being delivered here, just a door thrown open to life under reduced circumstances (though Sosa's artwork, with its look of leaded glass, conveys a benevolent quality to the proceedings). Without patronizing, Señor David defines the essence of humanitarianism, while the pepenadores, ever searching for beauty in the beast, find gold—and prize it. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

A large, silver-gray cricket with human eyes is the first-person narrator of this unusual Nativity story told all in short sentences and phrases with lots of animal sound effects. The cricket is a cranky sort who can only make odd sounds, and he is trying to sleep in the stable when Mary and Joseph arrive. Other animals and shepherds crowd in as well, including a shepherd girl who lifts the cricket up to see the newborn baby. The cricket wants to join in the animal chorus singing for the Christ Child and, inspired by an angel playing a stringed instrument, the cricket remembers how to play his own proper cricket song. Pels has created stunning illustrations in mixed medium, including sparkling jewels incorporated into her art. The illustrations, in an extra-large format, are set against textured tan backgrounds with the look of sand. Large, decorative capital letters in brown and black set off each section of the text, further enhancing the volume's sophisticated design. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

In an above-average entry to an established series and a useful, modestly engaging biography, the author demonstrates that a careful, close reading of the Paulsen oeuvre and the judicious mining of selected biographical details can be shaped into an involving read. Fine (Under the Lemon Moon, 1999) clearly has read most of Paulsen's autobiographical adult work, notably Eastern Sun Winter Moon (1993), though she assiduously avoids any overt references to alcohol use, sexuality, or violence and skips the scatological details so vividly presented in such juvenile works as Harris and Me (1993). Despite the well-laundered "life," though, Fine does truly get Paulsen's essence, and she effectively communicates the immense appeal he holds—especially for teenage boys. She marches the reader smartly through Paulsen's life to date and makes efficient use of his interviews, speeches, and letters. However, those expecting a unique take on his career or aesthetic will need to look elsewhere. Any insights here are Paulsen's own. Paulsen's life experiences and distinctive voice come through loud and clear and both are central to this biography's readability. Anyone new to Paulsen and his work will find a clearly blazed trail to map future reading, while Paulsen's fans will experience an acute desire to reach for a favorite book. Libraries that experience heavy requests for author biographies or YA author criticism may want to stock up. Unfortunately, the high price and short discount may make multiples prohibitive. Still, those seeking a single monograph on this popular ALA/YALSA Margaret Edwards Award-winner will find this a useful resource. To be illustrated with black and white photos. (Index, notes, Web sites, bibliography) (Biography. 12+) Read full book review >