THE GLASS CAFE

OR THE STRIPPER AND THE STATE; HOW MY MOTHER STARTED A WAR WITH THE SYSTEM THAT MADE US KIND OF RICH AND A LITTLE BIT FAMOUS

Long, breathless sentences like this one create a distinct voice for the 12-year-old narrator of this light comedy that features a supermom who’s raising a child and working her way toward graduate school as an exotic dancer at the Kitty Kat Club. It all hits the fan when Tony’s sketches of some of the girls in the club’s dressing room end up on exhibit at the local museum. Down swoops a panicky child-welfare worker, police officer in tow—both of whom meet their match in Tony’s intelligent, forthright, fiercely protective mother, Al. The confrontation quickly degenerates into a wild ruckus, followed by a media circus, a courtroom scene, and a telescoped resolution involving both a large cash settlement and a possible hookup between Al and Tony’s over-the-top drama teacher. Not too likely, but all good fun, and Paulsen claims that Al is based on an actual acquaintance. Introduce reluctant readers, Paulsen fans, or anyone who enjoys an occasional belly laugh to this prototypical preteen and his most memorable mom. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 10, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-32499-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2003

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THE OTHERWORLDLIES

Twelve-year-old Fern has always been unusual, but when she accidentally teleports out of an unpleasant classroom, she discovers she is an Unusual. Fern’s extreme sun allergy, pointy canines and dark hair are all normal for a vampire—or Otherworldly, as she learns the magical beings like to be called. Though Fern has grown up in an extremely ordinary adoptive human family, she’s anything but run-of-the-mill herself. Fern is one of the Unusual Eleven, a group of Otherworldly children with special abilities and important destinies. Fern and her beloved (and human) foster brother Sam are soon embroiled in a political battle against Vlad, leader of the evil Otherworldlies. Fern and Sam take the magical underworld of the Otherworldlies, composed of an unexpectedly bland bureaucracy informed by classical and European mythology, by storm. Despite plot threads that don’t quite hang together and some awkward turns of phrase, Fern’s story will readily please young vampire fans. (Fantasy. 10-11)

Pub Date: June 17, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-073959-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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VIOLET AND THE MEAN AND ROTTEN PIRATES

An orphaned child raised by pirates makes an uncommonly memorable lead in this British-style farce. Taught by her rough-and-tumble shipmates, eight-year-old Violet spits out the bugs she finds in her biscuits with an oath, expertly ties knots, goes to bed when she feels like it, and hardly ever bothers with a bath. She knows nothing about trees or flowers, but everything about wind and sea life. She can also swing about the rigging like a monkey—a talent that comes in handy when the Pirate Captain, who can’t stand the sight of, can’t even say the word b . . . bl . . . blood, sustains a minor wound that puts him off pirating altogether. Hamilton artfully implies violence without showing much, and Hearn’s cartoon line drawings reinforce the light tone. Forced to find a way to make money rather than take it, the pirates ultimately convert their ship to a floating Big Top, and come to realize that Violet is their real treasure. Delighted readers will have realized that long since. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58234-848-0

Page Count: 126

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2003

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