Books by Marcy Dunn Ramsey

Released: April 1, 1994

Natalie's best friend Tasha is African-American; Mr. Pettinato, an Italian-American, lives next door; Natalie herself is white. Poverty is the norm on their inner-city block, but neighborhood feeling abounds; and though surrounded by crime, the block itself seems like a haven. Then Natalie's mother shows up, possibly back from a drug-treatment program. Natalie's conflicted feelings about her frequent abandonment and her mother's promiscuity, as well as her distress when Tasha's family must move after their house burns and her attempts to find answers to her troubles while talking with Mr. Pettinato in his garden, all figure here. Unfortunately, Natalie's voice is inconsistent, ranging from poetic to one that is believably that of a 12-year- old with some Black English thrown in, while events jump confusingly back and forth in time. A pit bull who devours his puppies is frequently mentioned, but without elaboration. Is he a symbol? Of what? Bat-Ami shows promise, but she's tried to encompass far too much in this very brief novel. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
ONE DOG DAY by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 30, 1993

A well-regarded author of poetry for children (A Hippopotamusn't, 1990) concocts a comic literary tale about a 12- year-old who enters her collie in an unusual two-part race for coon dogs: following a caged coon in a rowboat, they swim across a pond, then dash to the base of a pole to whose top the coon has been whisked. Jilly's entry meets the derision of previous winners, arrogant grown men; she doesn't expect to win anyway because, though ``Poetry'' swims very fast, she's just not interested in pursuing the coon for the second lap. The help of an unexpected ally—the judge's son, who gives Poetry a not- quite-unfair motive for zipping to the goal—results in a satisfying upset. Young readers will find these events amusing, but they'll have to get past a slow-moving opening—colorful, skillfuly written, but with a distinctly adult appeal. Still, worth a try—especially, with its folksy dialogue, as a readaloud. (Fiction. 8-11) Read full book review >
TOYING WITH DANGER by Drew Stevenson
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

Clark returns—with Sarah and his best friend Frog—for another ``Sarah Capshaw Mystery.'' When the three come across a Frankenstein robot in a barn, the discovery that it belongs to a toy inventor initially squashes Sarah's hopes for a monstrously good mystery. Then the friends find themselves in the middle of industrial espionage, with one toy manufacturer seeking information about the inventor's next creation in order to cash in on its potential. The kids' efforts run parallel to a private investigator's; this ``case'' probably would have been solved without Sarah's work and enthusiasm. Still, perhaps mystery fans are never too young to learn about the world of corporate dirty tricks, and the plotting, if without much panache, is sturdy. Periodic b&w drawings show the sleuths in action and root the high-stakes intrigue in a more homespun reality. (Fiction. (9-11) Read full book review >