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A LITTLE PRINCESS FINDS HER VOICE

A well-paced, mostly easy-to-read glimpse into one aspect of women’s history.

In this sequel of sorts to Francis Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess (1905), Lottie Legh, almost 13 and friend of that title’s heroine, Sara Crewe, becomes empowered by the women’s suffrage movement, growing in strength and urgency in Britain before World War I.

When she was 4, motherless Lottie was placed in a strict girls’ school in London by her icy-hearted father, who provides money but never love. After witnessing a march, Lottie buys a brooch from a suffragist shop; she reasons that, if her father knew, this action would anger him but at least force him to think about her. Learning more about the movement and reading underground publications excites Lottie; over time, she and scullery maid Sally, equally avid about the cause, form a close, secretive bond. As the novel proceeds, Lottie grows in gumption, self-awareness, and insight. Most characterizations, though, are superficial; some, like the stern headmistress’s, are stock portrayals. The author highlights the desperate measures some women took to draw attention to their plight. Webb also clarifies, through Sally’s portrait, that the struggle transcended class barriers. Readers who enjoy melodramatic narratives will appreciate learning about these events and be gripped by the final, shocking revelation about Lottie’s mother. Characters default white; an unfortunate, jarring note is the clichéd Indian speech of Sara’s guardian’s manservant, which Webb has retained from Burnett’s original work.

A well-paced, mostly easy-to-read glimpse into one aspect of women’s history. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3912-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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