MYSTERY BOX

Carolyn Keene and Franklin Dixon never existed—Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were written by pseudonymous corporate authors—but if they had been real, would they been debauched artists in Paris? On the surface, Carolyn’s childhood is very like that of her girl detective, down to her identical attorney father. Frank has a seemingly idyllic youth, solving minor mysteries with his beloved brother Joe. But as WWI ravages Europe, the façades of Carolyn and Frank’s lives shatter. They are driven from their homes: Carolyn by her father’s disastrous remarriage, and Frank by Joe’s death and possible dishonor. They meet in Paris, among their new friends, the expatriate modernists. Surrounded by Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas, Frank becomes a private investigator, while Carolyn flirts with Modernist poetry. They share comfort and love, and co-write the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. Philosophies of art and popular culture infuse the little tragedies of everyday life. Gently moving, though stylistically adult. (Fiction. YA, adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8126-2680-X

Page Count: 208

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

Close Quickview