MOTHER HOLLY

A GRIMM TALE

A spirited and re-imagined retelling of a lesser-known tale by the Brothers Grimm. Rose and her stepsister, Blanche, are as different as their names: Rose is sweet and gentle and works hard; Blanche is lazy and cranky. When Rose loses her spindle in the well, her stepmother insists she go after it. But she wakes in a different world on the other side of the well. There she rescues bread from being burnt in the oven; she shakes an apple tree overladen with fruit; and she milks a cow in dire need of milking. Arriving at a cottage, she is welcomed by a woman named Mother Holly who has frighteningly large teeth. But she works for Mother Holly, shaking the quilts whose down makes snow on earth and finding her kind and good. When Rose returns home, Blanche envies the golden treasures she brings with her. Leaping into the well, she fails to repeat Rose’s kind acts and when she comes home she is covered in briars, not gold. In a departure from the original ending, goodhearted Rose goes back down the well with Blanche, where Blanche learns to work and not to complain, and both girls are covered in gold and glory at the end. Though the telling is often awkward and stiff (the idea of the large teeth is never really explained except in the adaptor’s note), the illustrations carry the day. They are rich in naturalistic detail, from kittens and roses to bones long buried in the earth. Westerman (Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, 1995, etc.) wields color like a magic wand, making well water translucent, peacock feathers iridescent, and the heavy silk of Rose’s blue gown palpable. (Folktale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55858-926-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more