THE SEVEN WONDERS OF SASSAFRAS SPRINGS

In this fun, folksy outing set in 1923, 12-year-old Eben McAllister has seven days to find seven wonders in Sassafras Springs, Mo. Convinced that his ordinary berg has nothing on the Seven Wonders of the World, Eben reluctantly accepts his father’s challenge: “I just think there’s no use searching the world for Wonders when you can’t see the marvels right under your own nose.” What follows is a weeklong odyssey where Eben asks people he’s known his whole life if they have anything special lying around. They do. It’s not the objects themselves that are so extraordinary—an applehead doll named Miss Zeldy, a rickety bookcase, a table—as much as his neighbors’ magical stories that accompany them that will inspire everything from chuckles to chills. The matter-of-fact first-person narrative is refreshing, as Eben is neither overly precocious nor terribly troubled—just a small-town boy with wanderlust who learns that an explorer doesn’t have to travel too far afield to have an adventure, but that leaving town still sounds awfully good. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-87136-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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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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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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