MILLA TAKES CHARGE

From the Daring Dreamers Club series , Vol. 1

This book is for readers who are really into princesses and ready for longer chapter books

In the first book of this new Disney series, Milla learns to recognize her own strengths as she pursues an adventure with a new group of friends.

Fifth-grader Milla, a brown-skinned girl with puffy black curls, loves reading about and writing adventures, but her real-life exploits are limited. Her two moms worry about her being out on her own due to her severe food allergies and a dog bite when she was younger. The fifth-grade overnight Adventure Camp trip seems like a good chance for Milla to take a step toward independence. With the help of new friends in the Daring Dreamers Club and their adviser, the flamboyant Ms. Bancroft, Milla devises plans to show her moms how responsible she can be. The girls in the club have varied interests as well as some surface ethnic and religious diversity: Mariana mentions her abuela; Piper is Jewish; Zahra is Somali and wears hijab, and she delivers a robotic-sounding monologue about her discomfort with Milla’s pet pig due to her “Islamic faith.” The inclusion of Disney princesses in the storyline is neither subtle nor convincing. Ms. Bancroft has the girls write about a princess they relate to, not because she sees that they are interested in princesses but because, she says, “princesses helped me find my big dream.”

This book is for readers who are really into princesses and ready for longer chapter books . (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7364-3924-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

TUCK EVERLASTING

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

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

MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE

Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean.

A 12-year-old copes with a brain tumor.

Maddie likes potatoes and fake mustaches. Kids at school are nice (except one whom readers will see instantly is a bully); soon they’ll get to perform Shakespeare scenes in a unit they’ve all been looking forward to. But recent dysfunctions in Maddie’s arm and leg mean, stunningly, that she has a brain tumor. She has two surgeries, the first successful, the second taking place after the book’s end, leaving readers hanging. The tumor’s not malignant, but it—or the surgeries—could cause sight loss, personality change, or death. The descriptions of surgery aren’t for the faint of heart. The authors—parents of a real-life Maddie who really had a brain tumor—imbue fictional Maddie’s first-person narration with quirky turns of phrase (“For the love of potatoes!”) and whimsy (she imagines her medical battles as epic fantasy fights and pretends MRI stands for Mustard Rat from Indiana or Mustaches Rock Importantly), but they also portray her as a model sick kid. She’s frightened but never acts out, snaps, or resists. Her most frequent commentary about the tumor, having her skull opened, and the possibility of death is “Boo” or “Super boo.” She even shoulders the bully’s redemption. Maddie and most characters are white; one cringe-inducing hallucinatory surgery dream involves “chanting island natives” and a “witch doctor lady.”

Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean. (authors’ note, discussion questions) (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62972-330-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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