Clever in small doses—tedious after the first few dozen entries.

READ REVIEW

WHO DONE IT?

AN INVESTIGATION OF MURDER MOST FOUL

A routine writing exercise filled with in-jokes and carried to ridiculous extremes by a mammoth stable of YA and children’s authors.

Produced to benefit the creative writing program 826NYC, the anthology consists of alibis of various length offered by 83 (!) alphabetically ordered contributors accused of killing evil editor Herman Q. Mildew. Along with making frequent reference to cheese (the stinky sort, natch), pickles and frozen legs of lamb, some “suspects” protest their inability to meet any deadline (Libba Bray) or map out a scheme (“Plotting has never been my strong point. Just read any of my books,” writes Sarah Darer Littman). Others protest that they adored the victim despite his habit of callously rejecting their story ideas, mistreating their manuscripts, insulting their pets, calling them at odd hours and bilking them of royalties. Dave Eggers and Greg Neri provide lists of explicitly described ways in which they did not kill Mildew, Mo Willems and Michael Northrup claim to have been off killing someone else at the time, and Elizabeth Eulberg, Mandy Hubbard, John Green, Lauren Myracle and several others shift the blame to fellow writers. Young readers, even the sort who worship authors, will find their eyes soon glazing over.

Clever in small doses—tedious after the first few dozen entries. (author bios) (Belles lettres. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61695-152-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A cancer story that struggles to evoke either laughter or tears

THE BEST MEDICINE

This Irish import’s 12-year-old narrator laughs to keep from crying.

Aspiring to become a professional comedian, Philip Wright enjoys entertaining his single mother and biggest fan, Kathy, while daily attempting to capture the attention of his art-class crush, “dark-haired goddess” Lucy Wells. When Kathy bursts into tears and locks herself in the bathroom after one of his jokes, Philip thinks he’s lost his touch. Prodded by her best friend, Kathy finally tells Philip that she has breast cancer that will require surgery, chemo, and radiation. Philip is initially enraged at how much this news will affect his world, never mind the impossibility of saying “breast” to his friends and teachers. When he finally faces the reality that he could lose his mom, Philip starts behaving like she matters. This novel has a rather slow beginning, with humor that feels too calculated to succeed, including an extended lisping riff, making fun of his Spanish best friend’s name (Angel, which Philip shortens to “Ang”), and the occasional reference to poo. The author also fails to explain how this family suffers no economic hardships while its only breadwinner cannot work. Nevertheless, middle-grade readers will identify with Philip’s conflicts with his best friend and his antics to win Lucy’s affections. Ang aside, the primary characters all appear to be Irish; absence of racial cues indicates that the default is white.

A cancer story that struggles to evoke either laughter or tears . (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-880-7

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits.

THE TRAVELING RESTAURANT

JASPER'S VOYAGE IN THREE PARTS

From the Tales of Fontania series , Vol. 1

A seemingly ordinary lad boards a seagoing eatery and is swept up in a series of flights and pursuits that lead him to a higher destiny than he expects (or even wants, particularly).

Having banished all magic (even mention of the word) from the realm of Fontania, evil Lady Gall is on her way to removing the “Provisional” from her title of “Provisional Monarch.” Her attempt to poison Jasper’s beloved little sister Sibilla pitches his secretive extended family into hurried flight. Outraged and confused, Jasper is somehow left behind—but wangles a berth aboard the Traveling Restaurant, a floating diner painted like a circus wagon, and sets out to catch up. Else arranges her narrative into short chapters with titles like “This Is When It Becomes Fraught” and strews it with pirates, wild waters, sudden twists of fortune, family revelations and scrumptious tucker (Jasper finds a snatched chunk of salami “a farmyard of deliciousness in one mouthful”). She sets her quick-witted protagonist on a course that not only sharpens his already-considerable culinary skills but gives him a central role in rescuing his shipwrecked family, decisively scotching Lady Gall’s schemes and restoring magic to the land. Jasper does this with help from a supporting cast stocked with likable enemies, sometimes-unlikable allies and one particularly perspicuous toddler.

A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-8775-7903-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more