CHILD BRIDE

Should a young girl follow the cultural imperatives of her society and go through with an arranged marriage, or embark upon a dangerous journey in an attempt to escape the situation? That’s the dilemma that confronts Ying, the plucky 11-year-old heroine in this suspenseful novel. Russell offers a thought-provoking glimpse of Chinese society in the 1940s, where children have no rights, but belong body and soul to their father’s family. When Ying’s wealthy, autocratic paternal grandmother informs her visiting granddaughter that she’s to be married immediately, her word is law. Ying protests’she desperately wants to return home to her beloved, ailing maternal grandmother—but her objections are brushed aside. Feeling out of options, Ying decides to flee; in the action-packed but somewhat confusing, surprisingly flat journey that follows, Ying briefly teams up with an orphan, grapples with her conniving aunt, and finds an unexpected ally in her groom-to-be. Although Russell’s characterization of the resourceful, determined Ying is solid, it’s the wealth of cultural detail, the curious facts, and vivid descriptions of a time and place governed by a specific set of underlying assumptions that will keep readers engaged. (glossary) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56397-748-6

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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