A courageous story filled with hope.

An urgent message for help and a family picture found in a department-store purse connect two girls, one in China, the other in the United States, and set in motion a life-saving journey.

When Clara, a 12-year-old white girl grieving the death of her older sister, Lola, finds the note and picture, she instantly recognizes where the picture was taken: at Molihua Park in Shanghai, where Lola, adopted from China, was found as a baby. After being kidnapped and forced to work illegally in a purse factory, 13-year-old Yuming, a Chinese girl from Yemo Village, writes the note and hides it in a purse bound for America. She gives smart clues to her whereabouts: “pale pink factory” and “outside of Beijing.” Inspired by these clues and ever present visions of Lola encouraging her, Clara feels compelled to help Yuming and convinces her parents to return to China. Meanwhile, after six weeks without a rescue, Yuming and fellow captives Jing, Kai, and Li attempt a daring escape. Told in alternating viewpoints, the two girls’ connection to each other compels and intrigues, even though the note’s discovery feels wholly arbitrary. Nonetheless, Clara and Yuming are strong, vulnerable girls whose two lives run in parallel: Clara searches for Yuming, while Yuming longs for Bolin, her estranged brother; Clara grieves Lola, while Yuming grieves for her grandparents and remembers their wisdom.

A courageous story filled with hope. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4690-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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