Every year, Alice celebrates her birthday week in February with her parents in a cottage on the beach in Sanibel, far from her snowy Wisconsin home.
This year, as she turns 10, the expected holiday company varies just enough to feel odd and challenging: The neighboring Wishmeiers' grandchildren didn't come; another neighbor is snowbound in New York; "aunt" Kate arrives with a new boyfriend and his six-year-old daughter in tow. Read full book review >
Wearing his novelist's hat, Henkes (Protecting Marie, 1995, etc.) offers another meticulously crafted, quietly engaging epiphany: A 10-year-old looking for just the right memento of his recently dead grandmother finds it literally in his hands. It's been two months since Gram's funeral, and Spoon, worried about his fading memories of her, surreptitiously searches his grandparents' house for something of hers with which to anchor them. Read full book review >
Owen loves his blanket "with all his heart.'' "Fuzzy'' goes where he goes and likes what he likes—"grape juice, chocolate milk...'' Leaning over the back fence, nosy Mrs. Tweezers "fills his parents in'' on various cures for Owen's affection—the "Blanket Fairy'' (Fuzzy survives safely inside Owen's pajama pants); the "vinegar trick'' (Owen finds a new favorite corner to cuddle). Read full book review >
"Before Julius was born, Lilly was the best big sister in the world," but of course "after Julius was born, it was a different story" - the usual tale of sibling displacement, anger, jealousy, and eventual acceptance. A familiar topic, but Henkes' delicately humorous narration - with its deft use of repetition reflecting Lilly's growing exasperation with the attention and special treatment Julius gets - makes this an unusually effective presentation. The expressively drawn characters - mice with very human clothing and domestic arrangements - are amusing and appealing. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >