WINNIE MAE

A beautiful but over-designed book—it has a small, thin typeface that is difficult to read—about a boy and his model planes. As soon as he finishes building one, he starts saving for the next one. And the next one is the Winnie Mae, flown around the world by the intrepid Wiley Post with his eye patch (Post died just recently). The boy is amazed by the instructions (some of which appear on the endpapers), for example, “cut swiftly and decisively but with compassion.” When the Winnie Mae is finished, and he takes it to his favorite tree, he can imagine flying it, and so he does. The boy views his world from above, and marvels at the magic. The story unfolds gracefully to this point, but becomes awkward; when the boy goes to show his plane to some old fishermen, he is stopped by older boys who tear the Winnie Mae to pieces. The boy rejects the explanation that the model plane was only a key to unlocking his imagination, and isn’t helped by his parents, who are too concerned with “work and following rules.” In a forced resolution, the magic of flying is restored to the boy, who sees the goodness of his parents and the fishermen. Splendid illustrations, reminiscent of the work of Chris Van Allsburg, range in size from tiny vignettes to full-page spreads, all in a rich and vivid style. In his first picture book, Lewis uses close-ups, panoramas, edgy angles, and light and dark to grand effect. The book may captivate older boys with dreams of flying, if they can be book-talked past the picture-book format. (Picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-15-201954-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE COLOR OF MY WORDS

This standout novella lustrously portrays Ana Rosa and the rich simplicity of her family’s daily life in the Dominican Republic. The linked vignettes and elegant prose vitalize the merengue music, colorful houses, as well as the people’s poverty and the tyranny of the government. Each chapter begins with one of Ana Rosa’s lovely rhythmic verses. A poet and writer at age 12, she steals bits of paper to record everything she sees, hears, and imagines. Ana Rosa’s family is very close by necessity, but it is her beloved brother Guario who has the job that supports them. As the novella proceeds, dark shadows begin to slink through the gentle days. We learn that Ana Rosa’s father drinks too much rum and Coke, especially on Sundays, when he becomes a lurching spectacle. Then an official informs the villagers that to build a hotel, the government has sold the land on which their families have lived for generations. The villagers band together, Ana Rosa writes an article, and her brother Guario becomes their passionate leader. But when the day of the standoff arrives, the villager’s words and rocks are nothing against the guardia’s guns and bulldozers. The heartbreaking result is Guario’s death. Without diluting the sorrow, Joseph (Fly, Bessie, Fly, 1998, etc.) illustrates the good arising from the tragedy as the government cancels the hotel project and Ana Rosa begins writing the life of her brother. This is an achingly beautiful story that will awaken profound emotions in the reader. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028232-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

EAGLE SONG

A rare venture into contemporary fiction for Bruchac (The Circle of Thanks, p. 1529, etc.), this disappointing tale of a young Mohawk transplanted to Brooklyn, N.Y., is overstuffed with plotlines, lectures, and cultural information. Danny Bigtree gets jeers, or the cold shoulder, from his fourth-grade classmates, until his ironworker father sits him down to relate—at length- -the story of the great Mohawk peacemaker Aionwahta (Hiawatha), then comes to school to talk about the Iroquois Confederacy and its influence on our country's Founding Fathers. Later, Danny's refusal to tattle when Tyrone, the worst of his tormenters, accidentally hits him in the face with a basketball breaks the ice for good. Two sketchy subplots: Danny runs into an old Seminole friend, who, evidently due to parental neglect, has joined a gang; after dreaming of an eagle falling from a tree, Danny learns that his father has been injured in a construction- site accident. A worthy, well-written novella—but readers cannot be moved by a story that pulls them in so many different directions. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-1918-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more