SIPPING SPIDERS THROUGH A STRAW

CAMPFIRE SONGS FOR MONSTERS

There’s no printed music but few readers will feel the lack, as DiPucchio expertly recasts 18 chestnuts into rousingly icky versions that practically sing themselves. Introducing such soon-to-be-favorites as “Do Your Guts Hang Low?” “99 Bottles of Blood on the Wall” and the genuinely revolting “Blow, Blow, Blow Your Nose,” this collection makes Judy Sierra’s Monster Goose (2001) and even Alan Katz’s takeoffs seem positively restrained. As is his wont, Grimly spatters his dark scenes with unidentifiable substances and populates them with grotesquely misshapen creatures—who, thankfully, look down or aside rather than directly out at viewers. Children who enjoy being creeped out won’t be able to get enough: “Home, home of the strange, / where the feared and the freaks come to play. / Where the stench in the air / comes from goon underwear / and the kids are all pasty and gray.” All together now. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-58401-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Convincing, humorous, warm, and definitely spooky.

THE HAUNTING OF HENRY DAVIS

Henry, the new boy in Barbara Anne Klein’s Seattle fifth-grade class, dresses oddly, but that isn’t the strangest thing about him.

Henry and narrator Barbara Anne (or Bitsy as her parents and grandmother call her) bond over their need to escape their assigned lunch table, and Barbara Anne soon discovers the subject of Henry’s absorbed sketching at recess: the boy who seems to be haunting him. Irrepressible, strong-minded Barbara Anne is not always aware of her limitations, and Siebel’s voice for her is both funny and warm. Henry battles a respiratory infection throughout much of the story even as he and Barbara Anne begin to realize that young Edgar, Henry’s ghost, did not survive the Spanish influenza pandemic in 1918. A session with a Ouija board and a letter and yearbook discovered in Henry’s attic tell part of the story. Edgar’s father’s journal, found in the public library archives, reveals the rest. Siebel cleverly weaves together the story of the developing friendships among Barbara Anne and her classmates and the story of Edgar’s friendship with Henry’s neighbor, Edgar’s playmate as a small child and now a very old woman. Henry, Barbara Anne, and Edgar present white; classmate Renee Garcia, who looks forward to eventually celebrating her quinceañera, and Barbara Anne’s teacher, Miss Biniam (“she looks like an Ethiopian princess”) are the only main characters of color.

Convincing, humorous, warm, and definitely spooky. (Ghost story. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-93277-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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