An enjoyable, well-crafted mystery with humor, mild suspense, a lively heroine, and a timely freedom-of-the-press theme.

READ REVIEW

MOLLY WARNER

SCHOOL REPORTER

A sixth-grade gossip learns what it takes to be a serious reporter when she joins the staff of the student newspaper as bizarre events escalate at school.

In this debut middle-grade novel, Molly Warner lives for gossip, sharing every juicy story she hears with anyone who will listen. When her remarkably understanding principal redirects her energy by having her join the student paper, Molly finds herself on the trail of a mystery involving the theft of the school’s only basketball trophy as well as car break-ins, an eruption of weird rashes, and a cherry bomb explosion in the girls’ bathroom. Among the possible culprits: Coach Cooper and two notorious school bullies. After Molly teams up with a fellow reporter to cover and solve the case, a surprise arrest ensues. And Molly discovers that her nose for news has led her to practice what “she was born to do.” Readers won’t discover much adolescent angst in Kilday’s benign middle school setting, but they will find well-placed humor and colorful characters that include Molly and her peers; janitor Frank and his unexpected musical ambitions; a girl whose phobia about germs in the school bathroom is tested in a most unfortunate way; a wise grandpa with a penchant for non sequiturs; and a reclusive ex-teacher who left the profession under a cloud. The author, a former reporter, adds substance to his buoyant novel with serious and timely information about the role of a free press in a democratic society. As Molly investigates the enigmatic happenings at school, she learns about journalistic ethics, interview techniques, and the difference between opinion and reporting. In well-paced segments, she hears about plagiarism, the significance of Watergate, the dangers of fake news—and of self-serving accusations of fake news—the need to fact-check stories spread on social media, and the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. “A free press that questions authority is what makes us a democracy,” asserts Molly’s journalism teacher. “It’s what separates our country from others who don’t have the freedoms that we enjoy.” Weighty stuff, yet Kilday skillfully weaves it all into his entertaining narrative as an organic part of the story.

An enjoyable, well-crafted mystery with humor, mild suspense, a lively heroine, and a timely freedom-of-the-press theme.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78465-349-1

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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