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ONE ALLEY SUMMER

Transporting.

A novel in verse about the months before a city girl starts middle school.

It’s the summer before Phoebe, 11, enters Southside Middle. Everyone says they’ll “eat her alive” when she gets there. On Phee’s street there’s an alley where the neighborhood kids hang out—and a house with a “killer dog” named Bull. She thinks some of the kids are too babyish, while others have in turn outgrown her. With palpable angst, Phee wrestles hard with wanting to break free of the alley and see more of the world, yet she fears the unknown. When cool and prickly Mercy arrives to visit her dad, Phee’s eager to befriend her, excited about the chance to try out her skateboard, and she turns away from lifelong buddy Henny. The poetry skips across the page: Phee is a deeply relatable wordsmith, thinking in rhythms that capture the patterns of hopscotch and skipping rope, and expressing raw, conflicting emotions. Words flow across the page, punctuated by repetition, movement, empty space, and run-on words. The poems transform the alley into a character, showing both its smallness and the new experiences it offers as Phee journals about it in her treetop hideaway. The voices of the characters, brief though they may be, jump off the page with clarity as Ylvisaker captures the alchemy of ordinary youthful times filled with friends and fears. The characters have minimal physical descriptions; the cover art depicts Phee and Mercy as white.

Transporting. (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781958325124

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Marble Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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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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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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