Returning readers will rejoice in reconnecting with the effervescent Tía Lola and the rest of the gang, while even readers...

HOW TÍA LOLA SAVED THE SUMMER

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 3

Alvarez returns with another Tía Lola story, replete with adventure and humor.

Revisiting this charming Latino family a couple of months after How Tía Lola Learned to Teach (2010), readers find 11-year-old Miguel Guzman’s aunt creating a magical summer camp for the Fourth of July week, complete with campfires and a nighttime treasure hunt. Víctor Espada is back in Vermont to visit, bringing his three daughters and his dog to stay at the farm. With romance blooming between Víctor and Miguel’s divorced mom, Tía Lola tries to keep the peace between the five children. Meanwhile, outnumbered by the four girls and sidelined from playing baseball by an ankle injury, Miguel is beset by a plethora of worries, while his 9-year-old sister Juanita struggles to feel special among the Espada girls. Each of the children (and a couple of the adults) overcomes a challenge, thanks to Tía Lola’s empathy and wisdom. The author subtly continues thematic elements of acceptance and community from the previous novels and blends Spanish words and phrases into the story, which will appeal to Latino and non-Latino readers alike.

Returning readers will rejoice in reconnecting with the effervescent Tía Lola and the rest of the gang, while even readers new to the tales will want to read more about Vermont’s favorite Dominican aunt. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86727-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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THE WILLOUGHBYS RETURN

From the Willoughbys series

The incompetent parents from The Willoughbys (2008) find themselves thawed by global warming.

Henry and Frances haven’t aged since the accident that buried them in snow and froze them for 30 years in the Swiss Alps. Their Rip van Winkle–ish return is archly comedic, with the pair, a medical miracle, realizing (at last!) how much they’ve lost and how baffled they are now. Meanwhile, their eldest son, Tim, is grown and in charge of his adoptive father’s candy empire, now threatened with destitution by a congressional ban on candy (opposed by an unnamed Bernie Sanders). He is father to 11-year-old Richie, who employs ad-speak whenever he talks about his newest toys, like a remote-controlled car (“The iconic Lamborghini bull adorns the hubcaps and hood”). But Richie envies Winston Poore, the very poor boy next door, who has a toy car carved for him by his itinerant encyclopedia-salesman father. Winston and his sister, Winifred, plan to earn money for essentials by offering their services as companions to lonely Richie while their mother dabbles, spectacularly unsuccessfully, in running a B&B. Lowry’s exaggerated characters and breezy, unlikely plot are highly entertaining. She offers humorous commentary both via footnotes advising readers of odd facts related to the narrative and via Henry and Frances’ reentry challenges. The threads of the story, with various tales of parents gone missing, fortunes lost or never found, and good luck in the end, are gathered most satisfactorily and warmheartedly.

Highly amusing. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-42389-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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