Smart and fitfully chilling, but puerile St. Ebury school sometimes seems less like a setting than a wallow.

FALLING DOWN THE PAGE

Part mystery, part exploration of adolescent psychology, McAdam’s second novel (Some Great Thing, 2004) revolves around the disappearance of a teenaged girl from an elite Canadian boarding school.

Handsome, easygoing, effortlessly self-assured Julius is the charmed son of an American diplomat. His romance with the beautiful Fallon (Fall for short) provokes the envy of classmates, especially awkward, cerebral Noel, his senior-year roommate. Thrown together by circumstance, the boys develop an ad hoc friendship, and Noel becomes a confidant for the besotted Julius. When Julius, confined after a prank, enlists his roommate as a romantic go-between, Noel’s fascination with the golden couple metastasizes into obsession. Then, just before winter vacation, Fall goes missing. It takes a while for her disappearance to make ripples beyond the cloistered world of the St. Ebury School, but eventually the police are summoned and suspicion falls on the roommates. In the novel’s second half we see both boys’ self-mythologies implode. The story is told mainly in their voices: Noel’s chilly, careful narrative contrasts with his roommate’s bubbly, almost aggressively superficial stream of consciousness. Noel’s sections have flashes of William Trevor–like darkness and insight, and the plot does eventually build momentum, but the police investigation of Fall’s disappearance is oddly halfhearted and low-key, a circumstance that serves the plot more than the mandates of law enforcement.

Smart and fitfully chilling, but puerile St. Ebury school sometimes seems less like a setting than a wallow.

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59643-220-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations.

THIS LITTLE BUNNY

Little bunnies prepare for the definitive bunny holiday.

Bunnies prepare for Easter in this board book. In verse set to the cadence of “This Little Piggy,” bunnies go to market, bake a cake, paint eggs, weave a basket, and do all sorts of other things to get ready for Easter. Rescek’s illustrations take full advantage of spring’s color palette, employing purples, pinks, oranges, and blues and incorporating striped and spotted ovals evoking Easter eggs. Little readers learning about the Easter Bunny for the first time will be delighted to get a peek at the process bunnies may go through to prepare for Easter and how it mirrors activities they perform with their parents.

This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0105-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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