THE RICHES OF OSEOLA McCARTY

Coleman (To Be a Drum, p. 264, etc.) writes with feeling of an African-American woman whose work ethic proved inspiring. At the age of five Oseola (Ola) McCarty moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with her grandmother and aunt. Both the women worked hard every day, and Ola was taught to do all the things they did, from making soap, to washing the clothes by hand on a washboard, to heating the irons on the stove to press the stubborn wrinkles out of the damp garments and linens. For their backbreaking work, which started at seven in the morning and lasted until late at night, Ola and her grandmother were paid 50 cents a bundle—as much as a customer could tie into a bedsheet. Still, Ola learned that it was important to save as much as she could every week in a bank account. A lifetime later, at 87, Ola had to quit working for health reasons, but wondered what to do with the considerable amount of money she had saved; she decided to give most of what she had—well over $150,000—to the University of Southern Mississippi for a scholarship fund, which was named for her. The action brought her fame and many awards, but Ola remained the frugal person she had always been. The story, illustrated with black-and-white woodcut-like prints, is full of wisdom and quiet courage; readers will be drawn to the simplicity of the habits that led to Ola’s riches. A small, fine book. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8075-6961-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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