Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books.

READ REVIEW

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM A LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK

Chicken soup for fans of Golden Books, from the line’s editorial director.

Reasoning that hard times have come to America (“The chickens have come home to roost, and their names are Debt, Depression, and Diabetes”), Muldrow offers this book as palliative. She gathers single illustrations from 61 Little Golden Books and adds pithy captions as anodynes, such as “Don’t panic…” (beneath Tibor Gergely’s 1948 image of a dismayed child holding detached braids) or “Have some pancakes” (Richard Scarry, 1949). Though some of her advice has a modern inflection (“Don’t forget your antioxidants!”), the pictures all come from titles published between 1942 and 1964 and so, despite the great diversity of artistic styles, have a quaint period look. Not to mention quaint period values, from views of apron-wearing housewives and pipe-smoking men (or bears) to, with but two exceptions, an all-white cast of humans. Furthermore, despite the title’s implication, the exhortations don’t always reflect the original story’s lesson or theme; rather than “Make a budget—and stick to it!” the lad in Miriam Young’s 5 Pennies To Spend (illustrated by Corinne Malvern, 1955) actually used his hoard to help others in need.

Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books. (Picture book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-97761-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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SMILE FOR THE CAMERA

This completely absorbing memoir follows the author from age 16, when she escaped from an abusive home in the late 1970s to become a model in New York City. Although Kelle ultimately succeeds, her path from squalor to security takes her through more abusive relationships, homelessness and a sensational murder trial. Kelle is one scrappy girl, though. With a few good friends and the timely kindness of strangers, she survives. This is a cautionary story to those who dream of similar runs to fame. James pulls no punches in her descriptions of the sexual and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of predatory men in the city and in flashback memories of her violent father. She describes a sexual attack and doesn’t shy away from innuendo in her characters’ dialogue. Stark in its honesty, the book propels readers forward with a sense of suspense worthy of a thriller. James bares her former adolescent soul and proudly celebrates her toughness, while owning up to her mistakes as well. Compelling and fascinating—a striking debut. (Memoir. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0623-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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FISHTAILING

Four teens fall in and out of longing, love and violence: Kyle, the motorcycle-riding musician, Miguel, the unpredictable poet haunted by a violent past, Natalie, a mischief-making cutter, and Tricia, a biracial teen uncomfortable in her own skin. Told in minimalist free-verse vignettes, their lives crash, simmer and smolder together in the science lab, on the soccer field, at the coffee house and more.  Phillips adeptly spins complex, provocative, sharp-imaged lines of poetry in this first novel that is mostly told by the four main characters with some well-intended but pandering commentary by the school faculty, including their English teacher, who assigned them to write many of the poems for class. Though fully realized in structure, tonality and word choice, several poems lack voice, particularly those written by male characters. Readers can identify the speaker because the author has assigned names to stanzas, but any sense that the characters could be living, breathing, talking teenagers stops there. However, although much of the climatic action happens offstage, there are enough razor blades, lust, jealousy and revenge to keep readers breathlessly hooked until the very end. (Verse novel. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55050-411-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Coteau Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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