Though its sourcing is lacking, this is nevertheless a poignant, inspiring story of friendship, hope and survival.

THE MAGICIAN OF AUSCHWITZ

A moving Holocaust story for younger readers about a young boy sent to Auschwitz and befriended by a magician.

Before the story begins, Werner Reich is taken from his home and sent first to Terezin, then to Auschwitz. In Auschwitz, separated from his mother and sister, the boy is befriended by Herr Levin, a quiet, gentle man. One night, when guards enter the barracks demanding that Levin perform, Werner watches Levin do tricks with cards and string that mesmerize the guards. Levin explains to Werner that he does the tricks not to entertain but to stay alive, and he teaches Werner his magic tricks to help him do so as well. Both survive the war, and Werner later learns that the man who taught him magic tricks was “Nivelli,” a renowned magician who performed throughout Europe before the war. In an afterword, color photographs show an elderly Reich performing card tricks he learned in Auschwitz. This book is presented as a biography, but there are no source notes indicating whether the quotes and situations depicted in the story are from Werner Reich’s remembrances or invented by the author; she does indicate that she met and visited with Reich in her acknowledgments. Although there is a historical note, there are no suggestions for further reading for learning more about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

Though its sourcing is lacking, this is nevertheless a poignant, inspiring story of friendship, hope and survival. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927583-46-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Second Story Press

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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The second installment in this spirited series is a hit.

WAYS TO GROW LOVE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 2

A new baby coming means Ryan has lots of opportunities to grow love.

Ryan has so much to look forward to this summer—she is going to be a big sister, and she finally gets to go to church camp! But new adventures bring challenges, too. Ryan feels like the baby is taking forever to arrive, and with Mom on bed rest, she isn’t able to participate in the family’s typical summer activities. Ryan’s Dad is still working the late shift, which means he gets home and goes to bed when she and her older brother, Ray, are waking up, so their quality daddy-daughter time is limited to one day a week. When the time for camp finally arrives, Ryan is so worried about bugs, ghosts, and sharing a cabin that she wonders if she should go at all. Watson’s heroine is smart and courageous, bringing her optimistic attitude to any challenge she faces. Hard topics like family finances and complex relationships with friends are discussed in an age-appropriate way. Watson continues to excel at crafting a sense of place; she transports readers to Portland, Oregon, with an attention to detail that can only come from someone who has loved that city. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and occasional illustrations by Mata spotlight their joy and make this book shine.

The second installment in this spirited series is a hit. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0058-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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