IN THE QUIET

Things lost, things found, and their seekers are at the center of this novel about a girl’s prolonged mourning for her mother. In the wake of the sudden death of her mother, Sammy finds that her only consolation has been her best friend Bones, who shares with her the hope that their endless digging in their neighbors’ yards and the surrounding countryside will lead them to a magic discovery. Then Sammy’s long-absent Aunt Constance, her mother’s sister, comes for a visit. She is a real “finder,” sought out by others who have lost people and need comfort, answers, or both. In spite of that gift, Aunt Constance is unhappy; she is hounded by people who need her, and has no real home of her own. Worse, she has never been able to locate the one thing that means anything to her, the top half of a photograph of Sammy’s mother that has been placed in a threadbare pink satin jewelry box, which has been hidden. Sammy, anxious to locate anything that was her mother’s, quietly joins the search and succeeds, coming to terms with her loss and seeing that she has a real future, her own way. This tender and touching story of love, loss, and rediscovery is strongly plotted and poetically told, but the characters make it count; every one of them is someone readers will want to meet again. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-32678-5

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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