Lively and thought-provoking.

READ REVIEW

SCARLETT AND SAM

ESCAPE FROM EGYPT

While arguing over their role in a Passover Seder, twins Sam and Scarlett are whisked away to ancient Egypt on grandmother’s magic carpet.

There, they are enslaved along with the other Jews, and they encounter Moses and Aaron, who involve them in negotiations with Pharaoh to free the slaves. Moses and Pharaoh, who is portrayed as a whining, jealous despot, argue constantly, calling each other childish names. The children witness the devastation of the 10 plagues, triggered when Pharaoh reneges on promises to let the Jews leave Egypt. The 10th plague kills his son Seti, whom the twins have come to admire. They witness the parting of the Red Sea and the bittersweet rejoicing that follows. They return home ready to embrace and share the ritual of the Seder and with a greater respect for their heritage. Kimmel keeps the story flowing at a rapid pace, employing 21st-century tone and syntax for the twins as well as the ancients with whom they interact. Although traditionalists may disapprove of this approach, it’s accessible for modern young readers of all religions and makes it possible for them to gain a modicum of understanding of this distant, biblical past. Stevanovic’s grayscale illustrations also capture the ancient events with a decidedly contemporary manga flavor.

Lively and thought-provoking. (historical note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-3851-4

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET.

The comical longings of little girls who want to be big girls—exercising to the chant of "We must—we must—increase our bust!"—and the wistful longing of Margaret, who talks comfortably to God, for a religion, come together as her anxiety to be normal, which is natural enough in sixth grade.

And if that's what we want to tell kids, this is a fresh, unclinical case in point: Mrs. Blume (Iggie's House, 1969) has an easy way with words and some choice ones when the occasion arises. But there's danger in the preoccupation with the physical signs of puberty—with growing into a Playboy centerfold, the goal here, though the one girl in the class who's on her way rues it; and with menstruating sooner rather than later —calming Margaret, her mother says she was a late one, but the happy ending is the first drop of blood: the effect is to confirm common anxieties instead of allaying them. (And countertrends notwithstanding, much is made of that first bra, that first dab of lipstick.) More promising is Margaret's pursuit of religion: to decide for herself (earlier than her 'liberal' parents intended), she goes to temple with a grandmother, to church with a friend; but neither makes any sense to her—"Twelve is very late to learn." Fortunately, after a disillusioning sectarian dispute, she resumes talking to God…to thank him for that telltale sign of womanhood.

Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1970

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1397-8

Page Count: 157

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1970

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A beautifully rendered setting enfolds a disappointing plot.

A GALAXY OF SEA STARS

In sixth grade, Izzy Mancini’s cozy, loving world falls apart.

She and her family have moved out of the cottage she grew up in. Her mother has spent the summer on Block Island instead of at home with Izzy. Her father has recently returned from military service in Afghanistan partially paralyzed and traumatized. The only people she can count on are Zelda and Piper, her best friends since kindergarten—that is, until the Haidary family moves into the upstairs apartment. At first, Izzy resents the new guests from Afghanistan even though she knows she should be grateful that Dr. Haidary saved her father’s life. But despite her initial resistance (which manifests at times as racism), as Izzy gets to know Sitara, the Haidarys’ daughter, she starts to question whether Zelda and Piper really are her friends for forever—and whether she has the courage to stand up for Sitara against the people she loves. Ferruolo weaves a rich setting, fully immersing readers in the largely white, coastal town of Seabury, Rhode Island. Disappointingly, the story resolves when Izzy convinces her classmates to accept Sitara by revealing the Haidarys’ past as American allies, a position that put them in so much danger that they had to leave home. The idea that Sitara should be embraced only because her family supported America, rather than simply because she is a human being, significantly undermines the purported message of tolerance for all.

A beautifully rendered setting enfolds a disappointing plot. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-30909-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more