Readers new to Ada’s memoirs will be moved and inspired.

ISLAND TREASURES

Ada, an award-winning writer and multicultural and bilingual education expert, recounts childhood memories of growing up in Cuba in the 1940s.

Filled with heartwarming vignettes of her childhood in Camagüey, Cuba, Ada’s memories are also suffused with the importance of family and friends. There was the strong grandmother who brought up five children while principal of two schools and running a farm. And Samoné, the hardworking hired hand who became a part of the family. She recalls the night her father unwittingly started a local legend. She remembers the pleasure brought by the windy months of August and September, when she and her parents made and flew kites, and the grief brought by the loss of tío Medardito in a flying accident. Though the stories are evocative and at times powerful, the narration is mixed with adult commentary that might distance young readers. This volume is bookended by two previously published books, Where the Flame Trees Bloom (1994) and the Pura Belpré Award–winning Under the Royal Palms (1998). In addition, the middle of the book consists of new vignettes gathered under the title Days at La Quinta Simoni. There has been no attempt made to unite the three sections of the book, resulting in the repetition of some details. 

Readers new to Ada’s memoirs will be moved and inspired. (author’s note, glossary) (Memoir. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2900-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A richly atmospheric page-turner—readers will eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel.

THE CLOCKWORK CROW

Young Seren Rhys stands on the cusp of a new life. Unfortunately for her, the train to her new life is late.

Following the death of her aunt, who saved her from her 12-year stay at the orphanage, she receives word that her godfather, Capt. Arthur Jones, will take her in. Seren spends her wait dreaming of the Jones family and their surely bustling, welcoming manor, Plas-y-Fran in Wales. An encounter with a mysterious man and his more mysterious wrapped parcel (containing the eponymous mechanical bird) leaves Seren reeling, and the mysteries multiply when she arrives at Plas-y-Fran. The place is shuttered and cold, nearly deserted but for a few fearful, oppressively unforthcoming servants. The captain and his wife are away; of their young son, Tomos, there is neither sign nor sound. With the Crow as her only, if reluctant, ally, Seren soon finds herself enmeshed in mayhem and magic that may prove lethal. In her characteristic style, Fisher crafts an elaborate fantasy from deceptively simple language. Seren is a sharp, saucy narrator whose constant puzzlement at others’ consternation over her impertinence provides running amusement. Supporting characters are fascinating if ambiguous players, not so much poorly drawn as poorly revealed, perhaps casualties of the quick pace. The deadened manor, however, provides the perfect backdrop for preternatural forces. Characters are presumed white.

A richly atmospheric page-turner—readers will eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1491-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Warm, delicious and filling.

PIE

What do you get when you take some scrumptious pie recipes, stir in a mix-up of a mystery involving an overweight cat and a legacy, then add a sly satirical nod to the Newbery Medal? This irresistible confection.  

In 1955, 10-year-old Alice’s beloved Aunt Polly, the peerless “Pie Queen of Ipswitch,” who has always given away the extraordinary products of her oven simply because it makes her happy, dies. She bequeaths her incomparable piecrust recipe to Lardo, her cat—or does she?—and leaves Lardo to Alice. Thus the stage is set for a rich, layered and funny tale about friendship, family relationships and doing what’s right. The characters are wonderfully drawn. While doing her best to carry on Aunt Polly’s legacy, trying to figure out how to wrest the secret from the cat, dealing with a nefarious woman poking around town and learning about the renowned “Blueberry Medal,” which everyone in town is trying to win, Alice draws closer to her mom, a resolution Aunt Polly would have cherished. Alice and her family eventually discover the solution to the mystery in a plot twist that is both comical and plausible. An epilogue, set in 1995, is deeply poignant and gratifying. In addition to the beautifully wrought story, readers will savor and want to attempt the 14 recipes, each of which precedes a chapter.

Warm, delicious and filling.   (recipes, pie credits) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-27011-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more