Books by Gail Radley

Released: Sept. 1, 2001

In an example from a new series, Radley (Odd Man Out, 1995, etc.) takes an enlightened look at an array of endangered species that range across the globe. Each two-page spread describes an animal, its history and habitat, as well as the disturbing reality of man's involvement in its declining numbers. The Key Facts section is a brief education in the animal's scientific name, range, size, diet, and life span. While the writing in the main text is pedestrian, the work of contributing writers such as Jack Prelutsky, Issa, and William Blake appears throughout in poems or notes, which add a literary appreciation. Dark hues of oil paint dominate the scenery as Sherlock takes the reader into the forests and woodlands of each animal from Oahu Tree Snail to African Elephant. A backdrop of grass, leaves, and branches, overflows with a mix of blended and defined techniques that encourage attention to the impressive detail of the animals. An introduction explains the serious damage that continues to plague the ecosystem and includes vocabulary, an explanation of how scientists are working to increase the populations of endangered species, and suggestions for those who would like to help make a difference. A glossary, map, index, and additional reading list further encourage young readers to get involved in preservation efforts. (Nonfiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
ODD MAN OUT by Gail Radley
Released: June 1, 1995

An uneven story from the author of Golden Days (1991), about fraternal twins who decide to help a retarded man. Sixth-graders Kit and Jordy have each other, but as new residents in a small Missouri town, feel left out. Kit rather desperately looks for connections; moved only partly by pity she comes to the aid of another outsider, mentally and physically disabled Oakley, saving him from shoplifting charges and finding him odd jobs. Later, she becomes fixated on Davis Jenkins, an eighth-grader her mother is tutoring; Kit starts to shut out her brother Jordy, who, though reluctant at first to have anything to do with Oakley, soon realizes that the man is harmless, and even a good co-worker. When humiliation threatens Oakley at a local parade, Jordy loyally takes his side; braving the scorn, so does Kit. The twins' relationship is artfully developed, but the other characters are mere sketches; even Oakley is puppetlike, without strong feelings or personality traits. The value of friendship over popularity is an evergreen theme, but a book like Nancy H. Wilson's The Reason For Janey (1994) offers a more intimate, convincing picture of the mentally challenged. (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >
edited by Gail Radley, illustrated by Ellen Kandoian
Released: March 1, 1992

Seventeen brief poems by such familiar writers as Dorothy Aldis, Rachel Field, and Harry Behn, each presented on a delicate double-spread watercolor depicting young children enjoying the wet weather. The poems occasionally include a glint of humor (``I fell into a river once/ But this is even better''—Marchette Chute); mostly, their forte is simple but deftly evocative words (``How brave a ladybug must be!/ Each drop of rain is big as she./ Can you imagine what you'd do/ if raindrops fell as big as you?''—Aileen Fisher). Kandoian's beautifully understated art is as lyrical as the language. Index. (Poetry/Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
THE GOLDEN DAYS by Gail Radley
Released: May 15, 1991

Foster child Cory, 11, has recently been placed with Michele and Dan, a young couple anxious to please. Accustomed to moving around, Cory can't believe that they really want him, especially when he learns that Michele is pregnant. He runs away with new friend Carlotta—who, at 75, hates the antiseptic life of a nursing home and welcomes the ``golden days'' of traveling with Cory. But she's already frail and quickly becomes ill, ending up in the hospital. Michele and Dan track the runaways down and invite Carlotta—now officially Cory's ``family''—to live with them, too. Predictable (all the signals for a happy ending are in place well before Cory runs off) but satisfying: Cory and Carlotta are an amiably resourceful pair, while the oft-played story of an orphan finding a home is always worth hearing one more time. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >