MARCIA

The trouble with most of the new YA novels dealing with sex is that seventeen-year-old behavior, presuming seventeen-year-old feelings, is depicted in stories read chiefly by twelve-year-olds—and, in truth, written at their level. Steptoe's thin but pointed first novel is different. Marcia is only fourteen, and though her boyfriend Danny is pushing her to have sex she herself feels unready; you can see other girls her age empathizing totally and those a little younger relating with understanding. Marcia makes two impassioned, soapbox speeches—one on aggression and manhood to her boyfriend, one on birth control to her mother—which express more confusion than she realizes (and perhaps more than Steptoe realizes), and feminists might well fault the author not only for the girls' preoccupation with boys and clothes, but, more important, for his assumption that eventual capitulation is inevitable. (Would it really be worse to lose Danny?) To us, Marcia's mother is a bit too hasty with the same assumption—but no one can fault her alacrity in fixing her daughter up with contraceptives. And, whatever we adults make of its message, Marcia—with its modified black English, sassy dialogue, and underlying earnestness—is an issue book attuned to its intended audience.

Pub Date: April 26, 1976

ISBN: 0140346694

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1976

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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