IRENE AND THE BIG, FINE NICKEL

``Harlem [in the 50's] was a place where nobody locked the door, and you never questioned being black because there were a million people who looked just like you.'' Smalls-Hector's story, presumably based on reminiscence, follows Irene through one happy, event-filled Saturday: washing her face in the kitchen bathtub; going past the ``toilet room'' to a neighbor's apartment, where her twin best friends are among the 13 children and there's always delicious food to share; squabbling and then making up with another girl—''Charlene's people came from...down south, and they were church people''—(the traded insults are wonderfully mild); fearlessly playing in the park; finding a nickel and spending it on a bun big enough to share four ways. Like Howard's Chita's Christmas Tree (1989), this book lovingly recreates the secure childhood of an African-American child in the not-too-distant past. New illustrator Geter makes an outstanding debut, combining a warm palette, impressionistic use of light, a pleasing sense of design, and an affectionately realistic portrayal of the girls. The lengthy text is appropriate as a readaloud or for young readers. (Fiction/Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-316-79871-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1991

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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