While readers can celebrate Mallory’s widening outlook on the world, they may yearn for a little less vanilla-flavored syrup

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MALLORY MAKES A DIFFERENCE

From the Mallory series , Vol. 28

After the disappointment of taking on too much for Halloween, Mallory decides she needs to be more philanthropic for the next holiday in this 28th and final tale.

Planning to spend part of Halloween evening at a party and part trick-or-treating fails completely, leaving very earnest fifth-grader Mallory frustrated. She needs to do better for Thanksgiving. With guidance from her mom, Mallory decides a food-drive competition among the grades at her school would be perfect. Her friend Joey offers to help when his stepsister, Mary Ann, turns Mallory down. That gives Mallory room to smugly reflect on the girls’ gradual separation and Mary Ann’s unfortunate self-focus. With the school administration agreeing to the plan, Mallory and Joey launch their drive but immediately run into unexpected (but very believable) issues. As cans accumulate and then get mixed up, it becomes impossible to figure out which grade won the prize of a homework-free week. Some classmates blame Joey and Mallory—selfishly missing completely the good they’ve done. Nearly all the classmates depicted in Kalis’ simple, boldly outlined illustrations are white like Mallory, Joey, and Mary Ann, but their teacher is black, and the food-bank representative is Asian. This mild, predictable, ever-so-sincere tale, the last in the long-running series, features a feel-good conclusion with a heavy-handed message.

While readers can celebrate Mallory’s widening outlook on the world, they may yearn for a little less vanilla-flavored syrup . (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5032-5

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Darby Creek

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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