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THE FIRST STATE OF BEING

A warmhearted blend of nostalgia and futurism.

In the lead-up to Y2K, a Delaware 12-year-old preparing for disaster meets a time traveler from 2199.

It’s August 1999. Michael Rosario is stealing canned peaches from Super Saver. It’s for a good cause: He’s stocking up in case the world collapses when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2000. And his mom loves peaches. They live together (his father’s long been out of the picture) at the nearby Fox Run Apartments, where Michael narrowly escapes to after getting hassled by the supermarket manager’s bullying son. Still hiding his loot, Michael, who’s “half Filipino,” is chatting with maintenance man Mr. Mosley when a dazed teenager wearing uniformlike clothing introduces himself as Ridge and asks what year it is. After more unusual encounters, Michael and his 15-year-old babysitter, Gibby, discover that Ridge is from the future. How did he travel back in time—and how will he get back? Excerpts of informational text and audio transcripts interspersed throughout the novel follow Ridge’s family members as they try to save him at the same time that he’s trying to save himself with the help of his new friends. The worldbuilding in this brisk work, largely devoted to elucidating spatial teleportation, is a feat of vocabulary rather than of plot tension. Still, Kelly’s memorable character development is on full display as anxious and sensitive Michael learns to embrace the present, while Ridge’s charming misuse of slang adds humor to this amusing ride.

A warmhearted blend of nostalgia and futurism. (Speculative fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9780063337312

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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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

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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