Books by Marlane Kennedy

Released: March 1, 2009

Following the excellent Me and the Pumpkin Queen (2007), Kennedy returns with another original novel for young readers. Charlotte, 12 years old, doesn't think of herself as a dog lover but steps in to care for a St. Bernard that her father bought cheap and now neglects, since the pet has outgrown its cute puppyhood. Beauregard is chained in a shadeless spot, his shelter a doghouse he can no longer fit into; in the summer heat, no one even fills his water dish. Determined to find a better life for the sweet animal, Charlotte hatches half-baked schemes to find him a new home. As each fails, her planning gets more sophisticated. A maturing Charlotte contrasts sharply with her unconcerned though benignly depicted parents. Her first-person, present-tense voice captures perfectly the emerging moral awareness of young teens as it comes up against the impotence of late childhood. Another fine effort, perhaps this entertaining read will serve to catch the attention of children everywhere living with too-easily neglected pets that have outgrown cute. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2007

"I don't think I'm abnormally obsessive. I mean, Daddy hasn't taken me to the doctor or anything to find out for sure, so I prefer to describe myself as focused." With that promising opening, Mildred introduces both herself and her raison d'être: her goal of winning the blue ribbon for biggest pumpkin at the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Certainly any reasonably objective observer would describe Mildred's interest as obsessive, as she spends all of her money, time and energy on her pumpkins, determined to beat the obnoxiously patronizing Grover Fernhart at the weigh-in. Newcomer Kennedy presents readers with a winsomely single-minded heroine and her lovingly supportive supporting cast, the friends and family who (mostly) give her the space to pursue her dream. Weaving unexpectedly fascinating pumpkin-horticulture facts into the tale, the narrative presents Mildred with one real opponent: her childless Aunt Arlene, who wanted to adopt Mildred when her mother died and who persists in trying to turn her into a normal little girl. The psychologizing of Mildred's grief is unsubtly telegraphed, but withal it's a warmhearted and genuine offering that demands little and gives much. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >