An entertaining, contemporary coming-of-age tale that subtly draws from an archetypal well.

MAX ODOR DOES NOT STINK

A seventh grader with an unfortunate last name tries to survive junior high hazing in this middle-grade novel.

As his first year at Robert Frost Junior High in Los Angeles begins, Max Odor has two chief worries, neither of them about academics. The first is the inevitable giggling about his name and having to correct every new teacher’s pronunciation (it’s “Odder”). The second is the challenge, apparently for boys only, known as the Ninth-Grade Lawn. Any seventh grader who dares to step on it will be pounced upon by ninth grade boys and stuffed in a trash can. Max is a special target because his older brother, Jason, is a legend: “The only seventh grader ever to make it across the lawn untouched.” A senior now, Jason is star running back—and the unrelenting focus of the brothers’ football-obsessed dad, which has serious consequences. More problems arise for Max, like having to shower with classmates after gym or getting the attention of Emily Brookings, the prettiest girl in school. Max finds encouragement in sources like novels recommended by the school librarian and the support of his friends. With their help, Max might be able to pull off a win. Trine, who’s written several books for children and middle schoolers, enters sympathetically into Max’s typical junior high problems. Though often light and amusing, with comical elements like Max’s name or Halloween hijinks with friends, the story is balanced with more earnest concerns. Max’s rueful voice downplays the lawn challenge, but the ordeal could be said to serve as a hero’s journey; the school librarian is a classic wise-old-man figure, and by engaging with his reading suggestions (such as The Red Badge of Courage), Max matures his sense of self.

An entertaining, contemporary coming-of-age tale that subtly draws from an archetypal well.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-7339589-6-7

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Malamute Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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