Subtitled Mexico's Great Celebrations, a basic discussion— in pleasant if somewhat dry prose—of the three cultures that have influenced Mexican life and art and the many colorful holidays and feasts that have resulted from this unique mix. While the text is occasionally anecdotal, Silverthorne mostly sticks to relating hard facts, resulting in a textbook quality. Still, the book is enlivened by colorful art reflecting Mexican themes, decorative motifs and by including simple crafts and recipes for youngsters to try. Useful. Glossary; calendar of fiestas; further reading; index. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 1-56294-055-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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Convincing, humorous, warm, and definitely spooky.


Henry, the new boy in Barbara Anne Klein’s Seattle fifth-grade class, dresses oddly, but that isn’t the strangest thing about him.

Henry and narrator Barbara Anne (or Bitsy as her parents and grandmother call her) bond over their need to escape their assigned lunch table, and Barbara Anne soon discovers the subject of Henry’s absorbed sketching at recess: the boy who seems to be haunting him. Irrepressible, strong-minded Barbara Anne is not always aware of her limitations, and Siebel’s voice for her is both funny and warm. Henry battles a respiratory infection throughout much of the story even as he and Barbara Anne begin to realize that young Edgar, Henry’s ghost, did not survive the Spanish influenza pandemic in 1918. A session with a Ouija board and a letter and yearbook discovered in Henry’s attic tell part of the story. Edgar’s father’s journal, found in the public library archives, reveals the rest. Siebel cleverly weaves together the story of the developing friendships among Barbara Anne and her classmates and the story of Edgar’s friendship with Henry’s neighbor, Edgar’s playmate as a small child and now a very old woman. Henry, Barbara Anne, and Edgar present white; classmate Renee Garcia, who looks forward to eventually celebrating her quinceañera, and Barbara Anne’s teacher, Miss Biniam (“she looks like an Ethiopian princess”) are the only main characters of color.

Convincing, humorous, warm, and definitely spooky. (Ghost story. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-93277-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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