Books by Karen Waggoner

PARTNERS by Karen Waggoner
Released: June 1, 1995

Conflicting motives almost wreck a third grader's firm friendship with his brother in this easy-reading, easygoing family story. A month after their sister's hyperaggressive cat Caliban disappears, Jamie and Gordon feel safe in buying the mice they've wanted for so longbut Jamie, who loves Scrub and Digger as pets, is horrified to learn that Gordon plans to sell their offspring for snake food. To make matters worse, shortly after the miracle of birth brings Ralph, Whiskers, Nosy, Stuartetc., etc.into the world, Caliban returns, much worse for wear. Are the mice doubly doomed? No. Caliban seems to be a changed cat, and Jamie cleverly persuades penny-pinching Gordon to change his mind by adding up the cost of keeping an explosively expanding ``inventory.'' Nonstereotypical characters and plausible problem-solving mark this light tale; Smith's b&w line drawings, as usual, capture each significant moment with deftly depicted facial expressions and body language. (Fiction. 8-10) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

The author of Dad Gummit and Ma Foot (1990) makes a stronger second showing with a story about a classic situation: getting used to a new sitter. Molly is a handful. Her last babysitter quit; now, after a day visiting Mom's office, ``old Mr. Herbert from down the street'' is taking charge. His strategy— psychologically adroit as well as believable in a man his age—is simply to wait, reading while Molly tests his patience; he does finally let on that he, too, can dance, and then meets Molly's challenge of a trip to the zoo, where he proves to be agreeably indulgent and Molly begins to mention some of her mom's rules- -``My mother doesn't let me eat hot dogs.'' By the homeward journey, they're sharing more important confidences (her dad's in Oregon, his daughter's in Arizona); and though Molly has achieved her objective of wearing him out, they've become such good friends that, once home, she fixes lemonade for him. Waggoner's dialogue is amusing and believable; Donohue makes a fine debut with lively, sympathetically drawn illustrations enhanced with a soft wash of color. Insightful and entertaining. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >