A warm depiction of family and of standing up for what you believe in

After her father loses his job, 11-year-old Carolina moves with her parents and younger brother, Daniel, from their home in Puerto Rico to upstate New York.

She misses that open, breezy home, the flamboyán tree in the backyard, and the weekly art lessons with Señora Rivón. Carolina can’t seem to relate to her 13-year-old cousin, Gabriela, who is half–Puerto Rican and half-white. Carolina is afraid of losing her Puerto Rican customs, such as leaving Dani’s lost tooth for the Ratoncito Pérez to take instead of the Tooth Fairy. At Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s suggestion, Carolina and Dani join Gabriela at a farm day camp called Silver Meadows. She meets Gabriela’s friends and a girl named Jennifer who is also an artist. A friendship between Jennifer and Carolina blooms, and after Carolina finds a small abandoned cottage, Jennifer and Carolina turn the cabin into their artists’ colony, sneaking off to beautify it and make art there whenever they see the opportunity. The possible closure of the summer camp looms large over the plot; as Carolina strives to find a space for herself in Larksville, she also tries to figure a way to save the beloved summer camp. The poetry of Robert Frost, Luis de Léon, and Antonio Machado provides thematic counterpoint within Otheguy’s approachable, empathetic, third-person narrative.

A warm depiction of family and of standing up for what you believe in . (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7323-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

Close Quickview