Adults will enjoy the witty non sequiturs, but the story, marred by conflicting themes, never quite coheres.

READ REVIEW

SADIE'S STORY

From the Backyard Witch series , Vol. 1

Sadie’s sad when her two best friends go on vacation without her until a witch moves into her backyard playhouse and shows Sadie a new way to see the world.

Investigating smoke rising from her playhouse, Sadie discovers Ms. M., a Sadie-size witch, inside stirring a cauldron. Though Ms. M. looks witchy—black, smock-style dress, pointy hat—the cauldron contains soup, and the finding spell she casts to locate her friend Ethel, now a yellow warbler, proves to be the hokey-pokey. When the spell fails, they head to the park to search for Ethel, an effort that involves close observation of avian park denizens like blue jays, orioles, song sparrows, and cardinals. Ms. M. introduces Sadie to “life lists” and other birding practices and shares entertaining tales of the witching life including bowling-league matches against the Mid-City Shamans and the praise she garnered in Omens & Augury class. (Ms. M. herself is a cipher: is she a witch or even real?) Charming illustrations slyly echo the humor. However, the adult-oriented satire, simultaneously lauding and ridiculing the green lifestyle (Mom interprets the whole world through yoga; Dad uses fruit smoothies as creative aids), may confuse young readers and undermine the reality-focused “notice the amazing natural world around you” environmental message.

Adults will enjoy the witty non sequiturs, but the story, marred by conflicting themes, never quite coheres. (birding tips, resources) (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-233838-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

Did you like this book?

A richly detailed account of a little-known event in World War II.

LIFEBOAT 12

An escape from war-torn Britain becomes a struggle for survival when a ship is torpedoed off the coast of England.

In June 1940, Great Britain formed the Children’s Overseas Reception Board to transfer Britain’s children away from the encroaching war to safe harbors around the world. Over 200,000 children between the ages of 5 and 15 applied for just 20,000 spots. Thirteen-year-old Kenneth Sparks is chosen to travel on the City of Benares, a luxury ocean liner, to Canada, where he will live with his aunt in Edmonton. The children are distracted by rich food, new toys, and soft beds, but the accompanying convoy of war ships is a constant reminder that while the blitzkrieg might be behind them, German torpedoes are a very present threat. Three days into their voyage, the Benares is hit, sending crew and passengers into the lifeboats and the water. Ken, along with a handful of others, all white except 32 Asian sailors of varied ethnicity (called Lascars at the time), must survive with little water, food, or shelter if they are to make it out alive. Told in verse, the story of Lifeboat 12 is lyrical, terrifying, and even at times funny. Hood makes effective use of line breaks and punctuation to wrap readers up in Ken’s tale. Copious research, including interviews with the real Ken Sparks, went into the making of this fictional recasting of a true story of survival. Backmatter offers further information, including the racism experienced by the Lascars.

A richly detailed account of a little-known event in World War II. (Historical verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6883-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more