CACTUS

A clear, visually attractive introduction by the author of several fine nature titles. Carefully describing the special features that help the cacti survive dry environments (e.g., accordion-pleated skin that expands without splitting), Lerner makes a strong plea for conservation and notes that there is at least one species native to every state except Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Her illustrations are detailed and carefully drawn, though scale is not given; scientific names appear in the back. Useful and unusually well written. Glossary; limited index (omitting some species, e.g., night-blooming cereus, described at length in the text). (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-09636-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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A BUSY DAY AT THE GARAGE

A rural, pleasantly ramshackle garage is the setting for this lively book. Each spread features the station and its forecourt, with a flurry of activity accompanying each turn of the page: The garage opens up for the day; a bashed-in car arrives; a brief squall soaks a lady, her swain, and their tony convertible. Over it all presides Mr. Fingers, a harmlessly gangsterish type in striped trousers and white jacket. Dupasquier (Andy's Pirate Ship, 1994, etc.) keeps the text quick, simple, and hand-in-glove with the illustrations (``Mick and Mack start to work on Mr. Walker's car. Pete serves the first customer''). These watercolors are equally nimble, deliberately cartoonish in the linework and saturated colors. The front and rear flap covers fold out with an array of questions and puzzles pertaining to the story. Bright, boisterous, fun; for children who take to the format, there are two companion volumes: A Busy Day at the Airport (ISBN 1-56402-591-8) and A Busy Day at the Building Site (592-6). (Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-590-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995

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THE STORY OF TRACY BEAKER

Wilson pushes so much pain between the lines of this portrait of a foster child with the personality of a steamroller that it comes off less a lightweight tribute to human resilience than a pathos-ridden tale of children acting out as they nurse profound inner wounds. Ever ready to lash out verbally or physically, Tracy swaggers through her account of life in the group home to which her second pair of foster parents have returned her, meanwhile leaning heavily on the thin hope that her long-gone mother will return to her. Readers will easily see through all the tough talk to the vulnerability within, as she browbeats Peter, a younger housemate, while drawing on personal experience to help him cope with persistent bedwetting; passes from denial through defiance to trying for a truce after breaking archrival Justine’s most prized possession (a cheap alarm clock from her father); and goes relentlessly to work on Cam, a visiting journalist, to take her as a foster child. Interspersed line drawings done in a childlike style, and letters exchanged by Tracy and Cam, fail to lift the heavy mood. By the end, Cam has still not come around—but readers may be too annoyed by Tracy’s rude, aggressive character to care. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-72919-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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