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THE STRANGE WONDERS OF ROOTS

A quiet story to spark conversation about conservation and community.

While fighting to conserve a grove of trees, a young girl discovers she’s put down roots in the community surrounding her.

When 12-year-old Holly arrives in a tiny Vermont town to stay with her uncle, she’s certain her itinerant actor father will tire of his current role (understudy for Woodland Sprite #4 in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and will soon uproot her yet again, so she vows to remain an uninvolved stranger. But it’s hard for tree-loving Holly to stay detached after she learns about a grove of endemic Arden trees that are threatened by the expansion of the town’s job-creating plastics factory. As Holly joins the fight for the grove, she realizes that trees aren’t the only ones that depend on the support of others, and that sometimes, found family can be just as important as biological relatives. Holly’s journey has a leisurely pace, and Holly is an introspective, quiet, and reflective protagonist. Her character is richly imagined, and she thrives with the support of a diverse, if rather one-dimensional, set of townsfolk. Holly and her uncle, who’s gay, read white. Adults may find more nostalgic delight in the whimsical town than young readers will, filled as it is with quaint shops and local artists. Readers seeking a title that touches on the environment, pollution, and the interconnectedness of life will find many educational moments woven into this gentle tale.

A quiet story to spark conversation about conservation and community. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 28, 2024

ISBN: 9780063287969

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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