THE INDIAN SCHOOL

After her parents die in a wagon accident, Lucy, 11, goes to live with her missionary aunt and uncle, the Wilkinses, who run an Indian school in northern Michigan. Aunt Emma is a taskmaster, while gentle Uncle Edward makes Lucy feel welcome. When Lost Owl asks the Wilkinses to take in his two children for the winter (the only members of his family to have survived a smallpox epidemic), Aunt Emma refuses, but Uncle Edward insists. Raven, who is about Lucy's age, and her younger brother, Star Face (later called Matthew by Aunt Emma) come to stay, and from the first, Raven and Aunt Emma do not get along. Raven rebels against school rules, refuses to answer to the name Aunt Emma gives her (Eleanor), and generally acts like a hellion. When Aunt Emma forbids her to see Matthew, Raven runs away. Only when Matthew becomes desperately ill—a combination of pneumonia and chicken pox—does Raven return. Whelan's (Once On This Island, 1995, etc.) plot is contrived, and her characters who never come off the page; Aunt Emma's stern manner is tiresome. Still, the friendship between Raven and Lucy as they come to understand each other is a good lesson for readers that never seems didactic. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-027077-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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