THE EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN

(ACCORDING TO SUSY)

From 1885 to ’86, Mark Twain’s 13-year-old daughter Susy Clemens wrote a 130-page biography of her father out of indignation: Her dear Papa was no mere humorist! This large-format picture book from the creators of What to Do About Alice? (2008) contains numerous excerpts from Susy’s sprightly biography/journal, presented throughout as mini-spreads, spelling errors intact. (Twain described his daughter’s spelling as “frequently desperate.”) Kerley’s conversational, quotation-rich narration effectively complements Susy’s insights, and the result is an affectionate portrait of Twain as writer and family man. Twain aficionados will be especially captivated by its fullness, as he’s not revealed as the author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn until mid-book. Fotheringham’s dynamically composed, digitally created full-bleed illustrations, both inventive and appealing, effectively recall the 19th-century setting, and big, swirling lines reflect the flourishes of an ink pen. A favorite spread shows the grand Connecticut house as a cross-section, with Twain going about his routine in every room, even taking a bath! A heartwarming tribute to both the writing life in general and the well-loved humorist—oops, sorry Susy… “Pholosopher!” (author’s note, how to write a biography, time line, sources) (Picture book/biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-12508-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2009

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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CHILDREN OF THE LONGHOUSE

Ohkwa'ri and his twin sister, Otsi:stia, 11, are late-15th century Mohawks living in what would become New York State. Both are exemplary young people: He is brave, kind, and respectful of his elders, and she is gentle and wise beyond her years. One day Ohkwa'ri hears an older youth, Grabber, and his cronies planning to raid a nearby Abenaki village, in violation of the Great League of Peace to which all the Iroquois Nations have been committed for decades. When Ohkwa'ri reports what he has heard to the tribal elders he makes a deadly enemy of Grabber. Grabber's opportunity for revenge comes when the entire tribe gathers for the great game of Tekwaarathon (later, lacrosse). Ohkwa'ri knows that he will be in great danger during the long day of play and will have to use all his wits and skills to save himself and his honor. Bruchac (Between Earth and Sky, p. 445, etc.) saturates his novel with suspense, generating an exciting story that also offers an in-depth look at Native American life centuries ago. The book also offers excellent insights into the powerful role of women in what most readers will presume was a male-dominated society. Thoroughly researched; beautifully written. (Fiction. 8- 11)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0140385045

Page Count: 155

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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