BOXES FOR KATJE

Katje and her family struggle to make due with substitutions for essentials like soap and sugar in Holland, post-WWII. One day, Postman Kleinhoonte unexpectedly delivers a small box from America addressed to Katje; it contains a bar of soap, a pair of wool socks, and some chocolate. A letter from Rosie is also in the box expressing her wish that “these gifts brighten your day.” A pen-pal exchange begins with Katje’s thank-you letter and gradually develops into an American small-town effort to donate basics to their European counterpart over the course of a year. Katje’s neighbors reciprocate with a box of tulip bulbs after conditions improve in the war-torn country. Fleming reveals Katje’s character of leadership, resolve, and gratitude through her written communiqués and Rosie’s initiative and inspiration through her active promotion of the charitable effort. Dressen-McQueen captures the flavor and essence of Fleming’s 1945 family experience through her detailed mixed-media paintings delineating fabric patterns, hairdos, emotions, and the general lifestyle of both communities. As heartwarming and uplifting as a bouquet of tulips. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2003

ISBN: 0-374-30922-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2003

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Just a bit of well-armed fun, more suitable formatwise for a gift than classroom or library shelves.

MAISY'S CASTLE

A relatively sturdy pullout castle with a die-cut drawbridge and a dragon in the cellar serves as playscape for punch-out figures of medieval Maisy and her friends.

The dramatic main event follows a perfunctory scenario in which Maisy welcomes “Sir Charley” the crocodile and others to a bit of archery practice, then dons armor to win a friendly joust “by one point.” Even toddlers-at-arms (with minimal assistance from a yeoparent) can follow the easy instructions to set up the castle and brace it. The card-stock punch-outs include four characters in period dress, two rideable destriers and, oddly, a cannon. These can be stored in an accompanying pocket when not in use—or even dispensed with entirely, as the castle is not only festooned with busy guards and other residents, but there is lots of (literal) monkey business going on. Along with sending Maisy further from her customary domestic settings than usual, this outing features a possibly discomfiting quantity of weaponry—none seen actually in use, but still adding an unusually martial note to a series that generally promotes more peaceful pursuits.

Just a bit of well-armed fun, more suitable formatwise for a gift than classroom or library shelves. (Novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7438-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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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Puns, humor, and onomatopoeia emphasize the value of trying.

THE KNIGHT WHO MIGHT

Move over Little Engine That Could and get ready to share the bookshelf with The Knight Who Might.

This knight’s mantra is: “One day, I might be a knight.” But in repeated refrains, his magic horse, sword, and helmet each proclaim, “You might not” after the knight falls off his horse with an “Oof,” gets his sword stuck in a tree, and falls into a mud puddle when he tries to put his helmet on. The horse, sword, and helmet even hide when the knight enters “ye olde tournament,” reasoning, “He can’t be a knight without us.” But when the ever positive knight journeys to the tournament alone, the three show concern. “ ‘He’ll be exhausted,’ said the horse. ‘He’ll be cut to pieces,’ said the sword. ‘He’ll lose his head,’ said the helmet.” And when the knight is scheduled to battle The Lord With the Scary Looking Sword, the three doubters come to the aid of the knight when he declares, “For the first time in my life, I’m The Knight Who Might Not.” Tension builds as the knight, now with his horse, helmet, and sword, gallops closer and closer to the scary-looking sword-wielding lord until…“DONK!” Beckett emphasizes the slapstick in his cartoons. The protagonist’s magic objects all have googly eyes and eyebrows, which is a little unsettling when the helmet is on the knight’s head but does add to the silliness.

Puns, humor, and onomatopoeia emphasize the value of trying. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-644-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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