A IS FOR APPLE, W IS FOR WITCH

Solid middle-grade fare. Ten-year-old Apple Olson is particularly sensitive when Barnaby Thompson calls her mother a witch, because it happens to be true. She's a good witch, though, whose tricks include turning the rice crackers in Apple's lunch into oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies. She's absolutely adamant that she won't share any of her sorcery with Apple for another six years. But Barnaby requires special treatment, and when Apple overhears a spell, one thing leads to another until, ``Ribbetty, rabbitty, rug,/Turn Barnaby into a slug.'' Only then does Apple understand her mother's caution regarding spells—they're easy to cast and the consequences are tricky. This well-paced tale is not entirely seamless, but the characterizations are good and tension builds as Apple's efforts to untangle her situation only make it worse. Highly detailed, comic black-and-white pictures throughout add to the fun. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-541-1

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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DONAVAN'S WORD JAR

Donavan's friends collect buttons and marbles, but he collects words. ``NUTRITION,'' ``BALLYHOO,'' ``ABRACADABRA''—these and other words are safely stored on slips of paper in a jar. As it fills, Donavan sees a storage problem developing and, after soliciting advice from his teacher and family, solves it himself: Visiting his grandma at a senior citizens' apartment house, he settles a tenants' argument by pulling the word ``COMPROMISE'' from his jar and, feeling ``as if the sun had come out inside him,'' discovers the satisfaction of giving his words away. Appealingly detailed b&w illustrations depict Donavan and his grandma as African-Americans. This Baltimore librarian's first book is sure to whet readers' appetites for words, and may even start them on their own savory collections. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-020190-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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