CALL ME IXCHEL

MAYAN GODDESS OF THE MOON

From the Thinking Girl's Treasury of Glorious Goddesses series , Vol. 1

Think that having “god friends” would be supercool? Think that the key to success is skill with hairdos or marrying a cute sun god?

Ixchel, a self-described “gorgeous Mayan goddess,” lives with her grandfather in the Upperworld but yearns to marry the jealous K’inich Ajaw. The two run off in secret, but Ixchel is killed by a lightning bolt and spends time in the Mayan underworld, Xibalba, before being rescued by her husband. The book concludes with several pages of nonfiction material about the ancient Mayans, a chart that parses myth from fact from fiction, and a bibliography. Despite these and the disclaimer that mythology is meant to be reinvented, this comes across as a transparent attempt to appeal to girls who can only relate to superficial, silly stories and who might not otherwise take their learning seriously. The thin, first-person story is silly and reads like cartoon dialogue. It’s hard to know who the intended audience might be for this peculiar mixture of ancient and contemporary culture, as in contrast to such new standards as the Percy Jackson books, this comes across as disrespectful of both the actual mythology and modern girls. Ixchel’s nonfiction-ish wrap-up of modern Central America sums it up: “If there was a magazine of ‘pop’ goddesses in Mesoamerica, I’m sure I would be on the cover.”

A miss. (cast of characters, glossary, photographs) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-937463-96-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Goosebottom Books

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud.

THE NEWSPAPER CLUB

From the Newspaper Club series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Nellie’s investigative reporting leads her to solve a mystery, start a newspaper, and learn key lessons about growing up.

Nellie’s voice is frank and often funny—and always full of information about newspapers. She tells readers of the first meeting of her newspaper club and then says, “But maybe I’m burying the lede…what Dad calls it when a reporter puts the most interesting part…in the middle or toward the end.” (This and other journalism vocabulary is formally defined in a closing glossary.) She backtracks to earlier that summer, when she and her mother were newly moved into a house next to her mother’s best friend in rural Bear Creek, Maine. Nellie explains that the newspaper that employed both of her parents in “the city” had folded soon after her father left for business in Asia. When Bear Creek Park gets closed due to mysterious, petty crimes, Nellie feels compelled to investigate. She feels closest to her dad when on the park’s swings, and she is more comfortable interviewing adults than befriending peers. Getting to know a plethora of characters through Nellie’s eyes is as much fun as watching Nellie blossom. Although astute readers will have guessed the park’s vandalizers, they are rewarded by observing Nellie’s fact-checking process. A late revelation about Nellie’s father does not significantly detract from this fully realized story of a young girl adjusting admirably to new circumstances. Nellie and her mother present white; secondary characters are diverse.

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9685-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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