NAFTALI THE STORYTELLER AND HIS HORSE, SUS

AND OTHER STORIES

Margot Zemach's rough sketches are appropriately peasantlike in feeling, though they barely hint at the richness of this collection which has greater range and vitality than any of Singer's previous work for children. The comfortable silliness of the fools of Chelm, who sentence a disrespectful carp to death by drowning, Aunt Yentl's folk-wise tale of a household imp called the lantuch, and the triumph of Lemel, a simpleton swindled by everyone who makes a perfect marriage nonetheless, are joined here by two longer, autobiographical stories which reveal the young Isaac of Krochmalna Street as an inveterate dreamer, bursting with curiosity about the whys and wherefores of science and convinced that the secret, 24-letter name of the Messiah has been revealed to him in his sleep. Where the boy Isaac in A Day of Pleasure (1969) was clearly projected through an older man's reminiscences, this one needs no mediator: he is at once a shameless little schemer and an incipient artist who, upon hearing the tall inventions of a garrulous traveling rabbi, bursts into tears from a mixture of awe, frustration, and envy. Eight sparkling tales in all, and every one begs to be read aloud. A delight.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1976

ISBN: 0374454876

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1976

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

HATCHET

A prototypical survival story: after an airplane crash, a 13-year-old city boy spends two months alone in the Canadian wilderness. In transit between his divorcing parents, Brian is the plane's only passenger. After casually showing him how to steer, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a breathtaking sequence, Brian maneuvers the plane for hours while he tries to think what to do, at last crashing as gently and levelly as he can manage into a lake. The plane sinks; all he has left is a hatchet, attached to his belt. His injuries prove painful but not fundamental. In time, he builds a shelter, experiments with berries, finds turtle eggs, starts a fire, makes a bow and arrow to catch fish and birds, and makes peace with the larger wildlife. He also battles despair and emerges more patient, prepared to learn from his mistakes—when a rogue moose attacks him and a fierce storm reminds him of his mortality, he's prepared to make repairs with philosophical persistence. His mixed feelings surprise him when the plane finally surfaces so that he can retrieve the survival pack; and then he's rescued. Plausible, taut, this is a spellbinding account. Paulsen's staccato, repetitive style conveys Brian's stress; his combination of third-person narrative with Brian's interior monologue pulls the reader into the story. Brian's angst over a terrible secret—he's seen his mother with another man—is undeveloped and doesn't contribute much, except as one item from his previous life that he sees in better perspective, as a result of his experience. High interest, not hard to read. A winner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1416925082

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1987

Did you like this book?

more