This entry in the Chapters series is an amiable story without much sticking power. Mam†, raising three children on her own in America, has always told stories about their Uncle CÇsar, a rich Mexican landowner who is to come to their rescue should they ever need him. Although their life is hard, and there are times when it really does seem like they need him, Mam† won't ask for help. When the children secretly put together enough money for a family visit to meet CÇsar, they find that their mother hasn't told them the whole truth. Spurr (The Long, Long Letter, p. 233) includes a wonderful twist to her story—CÇsar Gonzales is as important as Mam† says he is but has been dead for years, while his hacienda has become a famous tourist stop—but flat characterizations distract from the poignancy of Mam†'s memories (and her need to invent back-up help so that the children will feel safe in the worst times). The revelation about the uncle comes in clumsy dialogue that instead of protracting the suspense, dilutes it. (b&w illustrations, not seen, glossary) (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-7868-0265-0

Page Count: 57

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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