This tender, realistic tale might go a long way toward soothing the doubts of many children who are dealing with similarly...

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LEXIE

Quietly and ever so gently, Couloumbis explores the topics of divorce and remarriage and how they affect the children involved.

Ten-year-old Lexie is off for a week at her family’s beach cottage on the Jersey Shore, reluctantly leaving her mother behind for the first time since her parents’ recent divorce. What she doesn’t expect is that her father has invited his new “friend,” Vicky, and her two children, 14-year-old Ben and 3-year-old always-sticky Harris, who makes constant truck noises, endearingly preferring to be called Mack—for the truck, of course. Vicky’s Mary Tyler Moore smile, perpetually pasted on her face, makes her real feelings hard to read, and Ben’s a bit prickly. What’s worse is that Lexie didn’t see it coming; her father, afraid of her reaction, hadn’t told her this relationship is serious. The cottage is small, so all of them quite believably get in each other’s way while exploring what this new family might feel like. Lexie’s fears—becoming a guest in her father’s house and that her mother will be deeply hurt—are valid, but her worries are eased by the loving relationships surrounding her. Convincing characters and solid dialogue enhance the credible plot, which is more focused on feelings than action.

This tender, realistic tale might go a long way toward soothing the doubts of many children who are dealing with similarly trying situations. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-85632-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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