The perils of preteen friendship, ghost-hunting, and solving a theft make for pleasant reading.

THE STORY COLLECTOR

A NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK

A ghost may be haunting the New York Public Library in this novel published in partnership with the venerable institution.

It’s the Roaring ’20s, and 11-year-old Viviani, nicknamed “Red,” is living in the very best house, the main building of the New York Public Library (now called the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building). Her father is the building superintendent, and she and her brothers enjoy playing baseball using books as bases. But stories and storytelling are her true love. “Their truth was in their fun, not in their facts.” With a friend and her two older brothers, Viviani tries to impress the new girl in her class, Merit Mubarak, just relocated from Egypt, with a tale that a ghost—real to Viviani but questionable to Merit—inhabits the building. At the same time, valuable stamps are stolen from a special exhibit, making their nighttime ghost-hunting expedition all the more exciting and scary. Tubb, who addresses readers as “Dear Friend,” begins each chapter with a subject heading, Dewey Decimal number, and see-also references. Forget kids—librarians will love it. There are neighborhood references and interesting details about the library building, staff, special collections, and the lions out front. Viviani and her family are based in fact and were white. Bruno’s line drawings help establish the time period.

The perils of preteen friendship, ghost-hunting, and solving a theft make for pleasant reading. (author’s note, timeline, archival photographs) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-14380-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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