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GROWING WINGS

While 11 is a time in a girl’s life when her body is undergoing changes, Linnet’s physical changes are highly unusual—she is growing wings. To her amazement, this bizarre fact doesn’t surprise her mother Sarah, who it turns out also had wings at Linnet’s age. But Linnet’s grandmother had cut off Sarah’s wings, not being able to imagine her navigating her way though life with them. After the school term ends, Linnet insists on going to look for, as she puts it, “anyone else like me.” After several days of travel and after being abandoned by her mother, Linnet ends up at her grandmother’s, who takes Linnet to an isolated house way up in the mountains, a secret place where other winged people live. Safe in the community of others like herself, Linnet and one of the others, Andy, try to teach themselves to fly but for various aeronautical reasons, they are both unable to. Linnet and Andy finally realize that they are unwilling to hide for the rest of their lives, even if it means being called freaks by intolerant people. The two kids decide to take their chances in the outside world with non-winged people. Oddly, there is not much explanation and surprisingly little discussion in the book about how and why these particular people grew wings and what the significance is. While a few theories are bandied about, none are really explored. The plot and characterizations are not skillfully crafted enough to allow a suspension of disbelief, and the book veers towards pomposity, seemingly raising weighty, philosophical themes, but never really taking flight. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-07405-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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THE LEGEND OF THE LADY SLIPPER

AN OJIBWE TALE

Lunge-Larsen and Preus debut with this story of a flower that blooms for the first time to commemorate the uncommon courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl, an Ojibwe of the northern woodlands, knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mash-ki- ki, for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep. When she loses her moccasins in the deep snow, her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring beautiful lady slippers bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched. Drawing on Ojibwe sources, the authors of this fluid retelling have peppered the tale with native words and have used traditional elements, e.g., giving voice to the forces of nature. The accompanying watercolors, with flowing lines, jewel tones, and decorative motifs, give stately credence to the story’s iconic aspects. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90512-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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OWEN FOOTE, MONEY MAN

In his quest for easy moolah, Owen learns that the road to financial solvency can be rocky and fraught with work. Greene (Owen Foote, Soccer Star, 1998, etc.) touches upon the often-thorny issue of chores and allowances: Owen’s mom wants him to help out because he’s part of the family and not just for the money—while Owen wants the money without having to do tedious household chores. This universal dilemma leaves Owen without funds and eagerly searching for ways to make a quick buck. His madcap schemes range from original—a “free” toilet demonstration that costs 50 cents—to disastrous, as during the trial run of his children’s fishing video, Owen ends up hooking his ear instead of a trout. Enlisting the aid of his stalwart, if long-suffering, friend Joseph, the two form a dog-walking club that becomes vastly restricted in clientele after Owen has a close encounter with an incontinent, octogenarian canine. Ultimately, Owen learns a valuable lesson about work and money when an unselfish action is generously rewarded. These sudden riches motivate Owen to consider wiser investments for his money than plastic vomit. Greene’s crisp writing style and wry humor is on-target for young readers. Brief chapters revolving around a significant event or action and fast pacing are an effective draw for tentative readers. Weston’s (Space Guys!, p. 392, etc.) black-and-white illustrations, ranging in size from quarter- to full-page, deftly portray Owen’s humorous escapades. A wise, witty addition to Greene’s successful series. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-02369-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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