ZOE SOPHIA IN NEW YORK

THE MYSTERY OF THE PINK PHOENIX PAPERS

This waggish travelogue, bright in nail-polish colors, deftly combines real and imaginary locales. Nine-year-old Zoe Sophia tells of her apartment building on 86th St., taking the city bus to the Wildendorf School for the Exceptionally Curious and ballet class, while waiting for her great aunt, Dorothy Pomander the writer, to arrive from Venice. Not only is D.P. giving a reading, but she’s on the trail of a lost book. She and Zoe Sophia view the Pink Phoenix scarab at the Met and find phoenix references everywhere, even at the New York Public Library—as well as Lincoln Center, Pearl Paint on Canal Street, then a mysterious Prince Street bookshop called the Phoenix, where Zoe Sophia finds the lost title. The Exotic Travel Diary of Violet Pilfer-Snodges 1863-65 even shows the adventurer wearing the pink scarab. A last look from the top of the Empire State building and D.P. is sure that something magnificent will rise from the Twin Towers site, just like the phoenix. Stray foreign phrases and rich local lore add to the outing’s great charm. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-8118-4877-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)

 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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A fun-if-flimsy vehicle for science lovers.

DRAGONS VS. UNICORNS

From the Kate the Chemist series

A fifth grade girl brings her love of chemistry to the school play.

Kate loves science so much she’s determined to breathe fire. Of course she knows that she needs adult supervision, and so, with her science teacher’s help, Kate demonstrates an experiment with cornstarch and a blowtorch that nearly sets her teacher’s cactus on fire. Consequences ensue. Can someone who loves science as much as Kate does find pleasure spending her fall break at drama camp? It turns out that even the school play—Dragons vs. Unicorns—needs a chemist, though, and Kate saves the day with glue and glitter. She’s sabotaged along the way, but everything is fine after Kate and her frenemy agree to communicate better (an underwhelming response to escalating bullying). Doodles decorate the pages; steps for the one experiment described that can be done at home—making glittery unicorn-horn glue—are included. The most exciting experiments depicted, though, include flames or liquid nitrogen and could only be done with the help of a friendly science teacher. Biberdorf teaches chemistry at the University of Texas and also performs science-education programs as “Kate the Chemist”; in addition to giving her protagonist her name and enthusiasm, she also seems represented in Kate-the-character’s love of the fictional YouTube personality “Dr. Caroline.” Kate and her nemesis are white; Kate’s best friends are black and South Asian.

A fun-if-flimsy vehicle for science lovers. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11655-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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