A quick-moving two-in-one success (Adventure/historical thriller. 9-12)

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SKYLARK AND WALLCREEPER

The intertwined stories of one 12-year-old in hurricane-flooded New York City in 2012 and another in Nazi-occupied France in 1944.

Lily loves visiting her grandmother Colette in the nursing home despite Granny’s dementia. Granny tells stories of her travels, and Lily runs errands for the staff. Superstorm Sandy forces the evacuation of the home from Queens to Brooklyn with the assistance of the National Guard. Lily’s an invaluable help—soothing her grandmother and organizing food donations—but in the chaos, she loses a fountain pen of Granny’s. Lily’s timeline, recounted in a first-person, past-tense narration, alternates with that of 12-year-old Colette, a baker’s daughter in war-torn France, in the third-person present tense. Everyone’s terrified of the occupying Germans, but Colette wants to help fight the invaders somehow. Disguised as a boy, she works for the Resistance, delivering secret messages, counting German soldiers, and even derailing a train. At any moment she might be arrested and tortured, but with her new friend Marguerite, Colette’s brave enough for anything. Meanwhile, in the present day, Lily’s quest to find a replacement for her grandmother’s lost pen takes her around flood-ravaged New York City and reveals secrets of her grandmother’s past. Lily, her grandmother, and those characters with identifiable race appear to be white. The wholesome contemporary survival tale combines surprisingly well with a spy thriller packed with invisible ink, an exploding cigarette case, and all kinds of secret agent gadgets.

A quick-moving two-in-one success (Adventure/historical thriller. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0745-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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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

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