Filled with humor, heart, and warmth; readers can only hope to hear more about the Curry clan.

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FULL OF BEANS

A prequel to a beloved novel reveals more about a boy who’s full of mischief, heart, and conscience.

Beans Curry, first cousin of the title character in Holm’s Newbery Honor book Turtle in Paradise (2010), gets his own wonderful story, also set in Key West during the Great Depression. While Beans’ tongue here is not quite as acerbic as in the earlier book—he’s still plenty quick with the gibes, though—he’s got smarts, a loyal gang, marble skills, an enterprising head for business, a love for movies, and a way with babies (don’t forget the secret diaper-rash formula). A crooked con man and a New Dealer sent from Washington to refurbish the town to attract tourism galvanize Beans into actions, though of different kinds. In the first instance, criminal doings earning him big money leave Beans heartsick and guilt-ridden; in the other, he atones by getting caught up in beautification zeal. In a charming touch, Holm ends this tale with a snippet of an opening scene in Turtle, melding the two novels seamlessly. Holm effortlessly evokes time and place (two very prominent writers who actually spent time in Key West in the ’30s are named) and develops characters with loads of heart and grit. Hilarity and pathos ensue with friends and family, too. Only a subplot involving Beans and a reclusive adult film enthusiast afflicted with leprosy feels tacked on. Characters are white, appropriate to the demographics of the time.

Filled with humor, heart, and warmth; readers can only hope to hear more about the Curry clan. (author’s note with photographs, list of 1930s child actors, popular sayings, gang rules, and websites) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51036-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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

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Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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