A quaint historical about one of the effects of War World II for those who don’t want an intense war story.

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THE PRINCESS DOLLS

In 1942 Vancouver, British Columbia, a friendship starts to fall apart just as hatred and suspicion are increasing against Japanese-Canadians.

Esther is Jewish, and Michiko is Japanese, but being born on the same day in the same place fated them to be best friends. The two almost-9-year-olds love to pretend to be royalty from England. Spotting Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret dolls in a toy-store window, they dream of getting them for their birthday. But when Esther is gifted one doll, she gets swept away, forgetting about Michi, who does not receive a doll. An attempt to reconcile goes wrong, and the two stop speaking. While the girls have their quarrel, Canada and the U.S. have declared war on Japan. Hostility rises against Japanese-Canadians, and soon the Japanese men are sent away. As tensions rise in their town and their friendship, Esther must find a way to restore her relationship with Michiko. Schwartz uses a third-person point of view to follow Esther, and her realizations demonstrate a childlike, innocent understanding of increasing racism and the horrors of war. Ando’s vivid black-and-white illustrations add power and appeal. It’s a lovely, old-fashioned–feeling story, focused squarely on the girls’ friendship, that acknowledges danger and injustice—but at a distance.

A quaint historical about one of the effects of War World II for those who don’t want an intense war story. (Historical fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-926890-08-1

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Tradewind Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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