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CEMETERY QUILT

A bleakly atmospheric story about a rebellious girl reluctant to go to her grandfather's funeral with her mother. At her grandmother's house the night before the service, Josie finds a cemetery quilt stitched by her grandmother's grandmother, whose two sons ``died young.'' It has a pattern of coffins in the border that are added to the center when a family member dies. There's a patch for Josie's father, not previously mentioned or discussed, which comes as an unsettling surprise. If he's dead, why is Josie depicted as someone who only knows about death and funerals from burying a cat? If he's alive, why isn't he at his father's funeral? Josie first pronounces the quilt dark and ugly, but appreciates it more after attending the funeral and viewing the remains. She offers a patch of her own dress for the heirloom. Sometimes a family's customs can appear warmly universal and accessible to all; sometimes they are so personal that only insiders derive comfort from them. It's hard to imagine that this morbid variation on the themes of death and continuity will reassure other children facing loss. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-395-70948-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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