Intricate, meticulous, unforgettable.

READ REVIEW

THE NOTATIONS OF COOPER CAMERON

An attentive observer and methodical worrier, soon-to-be–sixth-grader Cooper Cameron learns about resilience as he works to protect those he loves most.

A bittersweet summer tale set in Minnesota, this book will be most appreciated by those who enjoy a thoughtful story. Literally. This narrative is entirely expressed through Cooper’s thoroughly engrossing thoughts, and it’s full of the musings and observations that he records in a small notebook. Two years after the death of his grandfather and the onset of intrusive thoughts about death and his family’s endangerment, Cooper develops patterns and behaviors to ensure their protection, such as reading the words, lines, and pages of books three times over, washing his hands in invisible water, and closely observing everything. But even as he endeavors to keep his family from bursting into flames, Cooper’s behavior worries everyone and puts pressure on an already-strained fault line between his parents and also between himself and the rest of the family. O’Reilly (The Secret of Goldenrod, 2016) delivers a nuanced and empowering narrative that uplifts rather than undermines Cooper’s unique perspective on his world, even as he works to reconcile that perspective with his family’s. The book pulls no punches with regard to the realities of intolerance (even among loved ones) toward neurodivergence while nevertheless validating Cooper’s methods of making meaning as he navigates trauma and grief on his own terms. Racial markers are absent, as is any evidence of racialized experience.

Intricate, meticulous, unforgettable. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0415-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Moving and poetic.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

PAX

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more