A fascinating look at the melding of North American cultures.




Nordgren retells the unusual Christmas story he says he heard from Steve Fobister, whose grandfather told it to Fobister as a child.

Blue Sky, an orphan treasured and parented by all in his Ashinaabe village, fulfills a prophecy when he sets out to find the greatest chief. His sacred vision, for which the village chief names him Anung, or Morning Star, takes him eastward, far from home and through various encounters with First Nations peoples and stories. Names for some plants, seasons and directions are given in Ojibwa. Turtle, a gifted interpreter of languages of people and animals, accompanies the young man. Anung escapes the clutches of Windigo and is suckled by a bear through a winter. At a vast city of longhouses at the edge of “waters that stretch the sky,” Anung learns that what he thought the end of his quest is the beginning of one across the waters to another land. There, in a shelter for animals at the edge of a village, a mother and father care for a newborn: the greatest chief of all the people. Anung, who has only his drum, plays and sings for the child. There’s almost an immediate anticlimax—Anung’s return is wrapped up in a few paragraphs. However, Nordgren avoids being preachy or overly sentimental, and his storytelling is compelling and rich in images.

A fascinating look at the melding of North American cultures. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61153-117-6

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Light Messages

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Set in a candy factory as tantalizingly fragrant as Willy Wonka’s, this half-mystery, half–jigsaw-puzzle novel is a mild-mannered cousin to The Westing Game and When You Reach Me. Four 12-year-olds enter a candy-making contest. Logan lives in the confection plant with his parents, who own it; he narrates first, then the arc rewinds for the other contestants’ viewpoints. Miles, who witnessed a drowning, adds a poignant fragility in his portion. Daisy narrates and readers see—shockingly—that she’s a professional spy. Philip’s no spy, but his section reveals unsavory intentions on multiple levels. There’s no murder here—nor even death, it turns out; instead, there’s forgiveness, correction of dishonor and an alignment of seemingly disparate events. This isn’t fantasy, though it calls for a heaping cup of (enjoyable) suspension of disbelief (unflaggingly supportive grown-ups; chocolate pizza for lunch; adult confirmation that chocolate could potentially turn into gum and back again). Sweets fans will love the gooey sensory details. Earnest and sweet, with enough salty twists not to taste saccharine. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-00258-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.


A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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