THE QUAIL CLUB

In this sequel to The Gold-Threaded Dress (2002), Oy, called Olivia by her American friends, wants to perform the Thai dances she loves in the fifth-grade talent show. Liliandra, however, the boss of the girls’ Quail Club, wants Oy to do American-style dancing with her. Many Thai customs—the Buddha in the house, Songkran, the Thai new year—are delicately interspersed in what is essentially a rather pedestrian story. Liliandra is bossy and rude and has parents who are often absent. Oy wants to be in the club where five girls are watching baby quail hatch from eggs (the girls are Spanish and Finnish and more American than Oy feels she is), but she is cast out by Liliandra for choosing the Thai dance over hers. Oy introduces Liliandra to the Songkran celebration and invites her to learn a Thai dance from her own teacher in an artificial dénouement that finds both girls performing in the talent show. Middle-grade girls might find some interest in this classic school dilemma, enriched by the cross-cultural notes. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2635-X

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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