Books by Natalie Honeycutt

GRANVILLE JONES: COMMANDO by Natalie Honeycutt
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 26, 1998

Third-grader Granville, small for his age, tries to blend in by wearing camouflage fatigues, and stands out by telling everyone that he knows karate. When his parents put a crib in his room, after painting it blue and hanging curtains with balloons, he thinks he's in for some kind of punishment—that he'll have to sleep in the crib—toying only momentarily with the truth: A baby is on the way. Granville, who happens to be best friends with Jonah Twist (The All New Jonah Twist, 1986), is a winning sort of oddball, but his family, from deliberately mean older sister Amy to thick-headed parents (the bedroom makeover and purchase of disposable diapers are accomplished before they approach Granville with the news of the baby), is just plain unlikable. The parents allow Granville to eat more than 19 consecutive meals of cans of beans (in his misbegotten scheme to glow in the dark); Honeycutt wears out Granville's subsequent gastro-intestinal troubles with scene after scene of his "popping." Although there are many children for whom Granville's concerns over his smallness will be only too relevant, there are far fresher takes on the much-worn new-baby premise, and far better books from Honeycutt. (Fiction. 7-11) Read full book review >
TWILIGHT IN GRACE FALLS by Natalie Honeycutt
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1997

A fully realized world is created by Honeycutt (Whistle Home, 1993, etc.) in this well-written story of a mill town's economic demise. Dasie, 11, has good reason to be proud of her father, who works a dangerous job in the saw mill that is the source of the town's livelihood. He is also a volunteer fireman and a former ``faller,'' highly skilled in the treacherous job of cutting down enormous trees. He and his wife have always expected Dasie's brother, Sam, to leave town and its waning economy when he came of age, and so it is that he joins the Navy. This is ``worse than hard'' for Dasie's mother, and only the first in a series of drastic changes in their lives. The mill closes; Dasie deals with conflicting feelings for her beloved cousin, Warren—who seems to be stepping into Sam's ``place''; Warren, in the meantime, reveals his true, aimless nature and later drives his motorcycle into a tree. From the outset the story rings true. Dasie's mother once told her that in death, ``the only thing that counts is the kindness of understanding''; throughout, Dasie is the one who understands, bringing readers along with her. The vivid details of logging and small-town life read as if Honeycutt has seen, felt, and touched everything in Grace Falls, and then passed it on with poetic turns of phrasing, e.g., part of the cemetery, where Warren will ultimately be laid to rest, is ``lightly wooded, where grass was a sometime thing.'' (Fiction. 11-14) Read full book review >
LYDIA JANE AND THE BABY-SITTER EXCHANGE by Natalie Honeycutt
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

Another of Jonah Twist's third-grade classmates is featured in Honeycutt's series about a San Francisco neighborhood with the kind of lively kids, nice parents, and pervasive common sense and good humor that distinguish Cleary's Klickitat Street. Lydia Jane and her little sister have an amiable relationship; it's as much in Gabrielle's defense as her own that Lydia Jane undertakes a campaign to change their latest day-care arrangement, at a place where unimaginative Mrs. Humphrey's concern for safety squelches all but the most placid activity. An au pair is beyond the family's means, and Grandma—a former science professor who sympathizes with Lydia Jane's penchant for stimulating if often disruptive inquiry—has her own life to live; still, when Lydia Jane tries to enlist Grandma's aid, she urges a healthy, and feasible, solution. Meanwhile, Lydia Jane (obviously a handful) has skillfully negotiated with her busy parents (Mom's a welder); and pursued such activities as using the library to find out how to preserve raccoon tracks. An entertaining contemporary story that will find a ready audience. (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
WHISTLE HOME by Natalie Honeycutt
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A little girl's anxieties about her mother's return when she's left for a few hours with her wise, empathetic ``Aunt Whistle'' are obliquely expressed in her concern for her dog Dooley when he disappears after a rabbit: ``What if he doesn't come back?...Suppose he gets lost? Suppose he forgets about us and never comes back at all!'' Aunt Whistle assures the young narrator that ``If need be, I can whistle up Dooley''; and after they finish picking apples, she does. So why not whistle up Mama? Because she'll ``come back all by herself.'' A nicely understated exploration of a common fear, as reassuring as the hugs this child gets, at all the right times, from both mother and aunt. Cannon's wonderfully expressive paintings, in bold swatches of richly saturated colors delineated with broad lines of subtler tones, capture the girl's mood and her essential security. Nice. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
ASK ME SOMETHING EASY by Natalie Honeycutt
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1991

In a deeply-felt narrative, Addie (17) describes the impact of her parents' divorce on her own life and her family. Seven at the time of the blow-up, Addie is a caring, active, curious child who loves her fun-loving, impractical father and finds it hard to please her perfectionist mother. After her father leaves, the unforgiving mother sees his personality in Addie, finding her every action suspect. Confused, Addie dreams that her father will return; meanwhile, her grades go down, her older sister sides with her mother, and the younger twins—who love Addie but are too little to defend her against their mother's anger—become deeply disturbed and speak mostly to each other, their split vision of the world reflecting the damage done by the divorce and the withdrawal of the more nurturing parent. Honeycutt makes the motivation within the family clear, but while Addie herself is well rounded most of the others border on stereotypes. The reader understands that Addie's spirit will find sustenance when she finally leaves home; still, the sad, almost relentless list of ways she's distanced and misunderstood as she grows up makes for a somber, introspective tale. (Fiction. 13+) Read full book review >