FRUIT FLIES, FISH AND FORTUNE COOKIES

Finally, some 11-year-olds you'd really want to hang with. Mary Ellen Bobowick and her best friend, Justine Kelly, are smart and sophisticated preteens. Eating Chinese food one night—with chopsticks, of course—Mary Ellen gets a fortune cookie that warns of bad luck to come. The youngster, who wants to be a biologist like her mother, has a scientific mind and scoffs at the dire prediction. But when a stream of misfortune comes her way, she begins to wonder if the cookie hadn't had a point. First she breaks the mirror in Dr. Bobowick's great-grandmother's antique silver mirror-and-brush set. Then she discovers that Justine is moving to France for a year, fights with Justine, drops a jar of Career Day fruit flies in her classroom, and gets sprayed by a skunk! And that's only part of it. But eventually things look up for Mary Ellen—in the form of her handsome classmate Ben, as she confides in best pen pal, Justine—and she discovers that all the bad luck was simple, scientific cause-and-effect, nothing more. Classic characters for Generation Y from LeMieux (The TV Guidance Counsellor, 1993). (Illustrations not seen) (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-13299-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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