An ultimately heartwarming, if somewhat stilted, new interpretation of a 95-year-old German kids’ book.

Nesthäkchen in the Childrens Sanitorium

A translation of a beloved German children’s classic.

Translator Lehrer here presents a new English-language version of Ury’s 1921 novel, Nesthäkchen im Kinderheim, with helpful new annotations to provide context and catch resonances that might elude modern readers. This is the fourth book in a long series chronicling the adventures of Annemarie Braun, “a slim, golden blond, quintessential German girl” who’s the youngest child (or nesthäkchen) of a Berlin doctor at the turn of the 20th century. The series follows Annemarie from childhood to old age, and in this volume, she’s 10 years old when she’s stricken with scarlet fever and sent to a children’s sanitorium, called Wittdun, by the North Sea. The book dramatizes her voyage to Wittdun, her introduction to her new home, and how she gradually came to know the staff and children there. Annemarie is like a Teutonic Shirley Temple, always smiling, always slightly mischievous, and always bringing out the best in the people around her. Despite Lehrer’s best efforts, though, she tends to be a fairly stilted and dull heroine. However, the context of the surrounding social setting is fascinating—a snapshot of a vanished world presented with charming, black-and-white period illustrations. Ury’s narrative tone is amusingly sardonic at times—affectionate but assessing, as it aims to appeal to both children and their parents. Her portraits of the various adults that Annemarie encounters are refreshingly textured; they’re not the one-dimensional authority figures that were more typical of children’s books of the time. The story also handles Annemarie’s shifting emotions, from feeling forlorn to gradually coming to like many people at Wittdun, in a lively, often charming way. It’s easy to see why this series might have been so popular with German families nearly a century ago.

An ultimately heartwarming, if somewhat stilted, new interpretation of a 95-year-old German kids’ book.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5004-2458-9

Page Count: 210

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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