Myers (Ethan Between Us, 1998, etc.) takes on WWII and the folks on the Oklahoma home front. Gail knows that everything has changed when the telegram arrives stating that her father is missing in action. Although everyone in their small town, including Gail’s grandmother and her blind and bitter Uncle Ned, believe that her father is dead, Gail and her mother refuse to give up hope. Christmas is coming, and Gail wants her twin younger siblings to hope, too. Alternating with Gail’s story at home is the story of a navigator and a gunner who survive the crash of their plane. The gunner drags the navigator to safety where they are protected by French members of the Resistance; the navigator dies, while the gunner makes his way at last to England. Meanwhile, Gail learns more about her family, and how Ned’s blindness and his wife’s leaving have twisted him; he even attacks Captain, Gail’s golden retriever. The story doesn’t have the natural flow of some of Myers’s other novels; the reconciliations are mechanical (and plentiful), while the plot twists are rather heavyhanded: Christmas revelations, rescues, kindnesses, and sorrows. Despite such tampering, what remains vivid is the girl, her dog, and life on the home front, when the war came over the radio. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8027-8706-1

Page Count: 134

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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A girl and her sister start off rather glumly in the back seat of the car, leaving all their friends behind, because they are off to a family party. When they arrive, they are kissed by Aunt Joan—the worst—and then there is more kissing and a bunch of cousins just hanging around. But the kids start sharing war stories (hair cuts, lost teeth, split lips) and playing shark on the lawn; there are hideouts under Uncle John’s chair and potato-chip thievery; and then there is all that food beloved of family gatherings, for it is Gran’s birthday. At the end, of course, no one wants to go home. In sprightly rhyme, Reid captures the range of experience, from initial wariness to high hilarity, present at parties full of relatives. Her illustrations, done in painted Plasticine on board, have a wonderful texture, making a Hawaiian shirt, three-bean salad, and Mary Jane shoes pop out of the page. A treat. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-97801-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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