Flatly opposed to the idea of paying dues, clubmates Leo, Phoebe, Miranda, and Marcus find other ways to raise money, then opt to spend it worthily in this followup to Cool Crazy Crickets (2000). With 14 hard-earned dollars to show for watching Marcus’s horribly active little brother, pet-sitting a neighbor’s nervous Irish wolfhound, and selling lemonade, the four friends argue about whether it should go for snacks or other frills. But when the one-eyed stray cat that has been strolling through Elliott’s easy-reading chapters turns up in the Cricket clubhouse looking decidedly unwell, they quickly agree that a trip to the vet is in order. In freely sketched watercolors, Meisel (How to Talk to Your Cat, 2000, etc.) sets his multicultural quartet into a summery suburban neighborhood, and gives the cat, both before and after being nursed back to health with a week of TLC, an appealingly raffish look. Elliott partly devalues the Crickets’ sacrifice by rewarding them with free treats from the local snack shop, but thoughtful younger readers will still get the story’s point. (Fiction. 8-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1116-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001


A rural, pleasantly ramshackle garage is the setting for this lively book. Each spread features the station and its forecourt, with a flurry of activity accompanying each turn of the page: The garage opens up for the day; a bashed-in car arrives; a brief squall soaks a lady, her swain, and their tony convertible. Over it all presides Mr. Fingers, a harmlessly gangsterish type in striped trousers and white jacket. Dupasquier (Andy's Pirate Ship, 1994, etc.) keeps the text quick, simple, and hand-in-glove with the illustrations (``Mick and Mack start to work on Mr. Walker's car. Pete serves the first customer''). These watercolors are equally nimble, deliberately cartoonish in the linework and saturated colors. The front and rear flap covers fold out with an array of questions and puzzles pertaining to the story. Bright, boisterous, fun; for children who take to the format, there are two companion volumes: A Busy Day at the Airport (ISBN 1-56402-591-8) and A Busy Day at the Building Site (592-6). (Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-590-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995



McDonough and Zeldis turn from Sisters in Strength (2000) to a leader of a different sort. “I have walked that long road to freedom,” Mandela rightly claimed after his 1999 retirement from public life. This tribute follows him each step of the way, from watching his father sacrifice possessions and high status rather than acknowledge the authority of a white judge, through his growth into an iconic anti-apartheid spokesman, to his hard-earned triumph. McDonough’s lengthy text mentions Mandela’s wives and children, but focuses more on his principles, and the strength of character that carried him through his long imprisonment. In Zeldis’s folk-art-style paintings, he and the figures around him sport odd-looking orange or pink noses, but Mandela’s growing stature is clearly conveyed, along with pivotal events in South Africa. The journey ends with a final pair of strong images: in one, he poses with a crowd and a large ANC flag; then, he is seen walking alone down a rugged path. The appended chronology ends with 1999, so this inspiring portrait can also serve as an updated replacement for Floyd Cooper’s Mandela: From the Life of the South African Statesman (1996). (bibliography, pronunciation guide) (Picture book/biography. 8-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8027-8821-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2002

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