For most readers, this effort sits as a curio alongside other Latin versions of modern books, truly delighting only the rare...

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, LATIN ED.

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

The Latin version of Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (translated by Vatican Latinist Gallagher), is an exploration of new form rather than new content, much like the Shakespearean version of Star Wars or the Klingon version of Hamlet.

Cicero would ask, “Cui bono?”: for whom is this a benefit? For readers who have soldiered through the phalanxes of Latin grammar, the works of Caesar, Catullus, and Virgil have traditionally been the prizes at the end of their odysseys. Is Kinney’s work also commensurate reward for their studies? The challenge is in finding readers whose Latin skills are up to Gallagher’s Latin prose (which is sophisticated) and whose humor appreciates the travails of middle school (which are many). The decision to omit macrons (an essential vowel accent in elementary Latin texts) aims the book squarely at experienced readers rather than young Latinists. Clever Latin neologisms abound for modern words like “video games,” “heavy metal music,” and “computer,” although the Latin is a mix of calques and pseudo-Latin words (“videolusuum,” “musicae metallicae gravis,” and “computatro”).

For most readers, this effort sits as a curio alongside other Latin versions of modern books, truly delighting only the rare readers who can both navigate the syntax of Latin and giggle at the “Tactus Casei” (“Cheese Touch”). (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1947-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Longing—for connection, for family, for a voice—roars to life with just a touch of magic.

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

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WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER

A young girl bargaining for the health of her grandmother discovers both her family’s past and the strength of her own voice.

For many years, Lily’s Korean grandmother, Halmoni, has shared her Asian wisdom and healing powers with her predominantly White community. When Lily, her sister, Sam—both biracial, Korean and White—and their widowed mom move in with Halmoni to be close with her as she ages, Lily begins to see a magical tiger. What were previously bedtime stories become dangerously prophetic, as Lily begins to piece together fact from fiction. There is no need for prior knowledge of Korean folktales, although a traditional Korean myth propels the story forward. From the tiger, Lily learns that Halmoni has bottled up the hard stories of her past to keep sadness at bay. Lily makes a deal with the tiger to heal her grandmother by releasing those stories. What she comes to realize is that healing doesn’t mean health and that Halmoni is not the only one in need of the power of storytelling. Interesting supporting characters are fully developed but used sparingly to keep the focus on the simple yet suspenseful plot. Keller infuses this tale, which explores both the end of life and coming-of-age, with a sensitive examination of immigration issues and the complexity of home. It is at one and the same time completely American and thoroughly informed by Korean culture.

Longing—for connection, for family, for a voice—roars to life with just a touch of magic. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1570-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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