A rich addition to the global fairy-tale collection.

CINDERELLA OF THE NILE

From the One Story, Many Voices series

Cinderella is an actual slave in this illustrated Egyptian version of the story.

Born in Greece at a time when “pirates freely roamed the seas” and affectionately called Rhodopis, “rosy-cheeked,” she is pale-skinned with long, red hair and “eyes like sapphires.” One day, while herding goats, she is kidnapped by a pirate wearing what looks like a turban. She is sold on an island, where she befriends Aesop, another slave, who is depicted as a black man. Her master doesn’t like her melancholy face, so he sends her down the Nile, where she is sold again, this time to a Greek merchant named Charaxos, who treats her well—which makes his Egyptian servants, three brown-skinned women, jealous. Through her torments, Rhodopis sings the song Aesop taught her and befriends animals as a comfort. When the pharaoh, who has brown skin, hosts a feast, the Egyptian servants arrange to go. Rhodopis is washing clothes in the river when the falcon-headed god Horus picks up one of her shoes. He delivers it to the pharaoh, who takes it as a sign and sets out to find the slender-footed owner of the slipper. Iranian artist Vafaeian’s stylized illustrations successfully evoke an older, different world, with meticulously textured coloring, unusual use of size and proportion, and ancient Egyptian aesthetic. As with most fairy tales, readers may disagree over whether this version is suitable for children.

A rich addition to the global fairy-tale collection. (Fairy tale. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910328-29-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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