THE GOOD LITTLE GIRL

David’s good little Miranda is being handed a bill of goods from her working parents: “Tomorrow,” they reply to her requests, and they take her consent for granted. When they fail to deliver Miranda’s favorite Saturday waffle breakfast, and again make the feeble “tomorrow” response, Miranda metamorphoses into a rough-and-tumble alter-ego—Lucretia, who is green and nasty. Miranda is inside Lucretia’s head, staring out her eyeball to witness the proceedings, and can communicate with Lucretia but not with her parents. Lucretia asks Miranda what she wants, and at first all is well, with all Miranda’s requests fulfilled. Then Lucretia turns mean, humiliating the parents and disregarding Miranda’s pleas. After Lucretia makes Miranda’s mother stick pencils up her nose and sing “Polly Wolly Doodle,” Miranda cuts loose and reappears, sending Lucretia back to a primitive corner of her brain. The parents are delighted to have their good girl return, but slip into their “tomorrow” motif until prompting from Lucretia firms up negotiations. Lucretia will appeal to every child who has ever succumbed to vague parental procrastinations, and Oubrerie’s illustrations are just what the story ordered: bug-eyed, elemental, and more than a tad crazy. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32614-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1998

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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THOSE SHOES

The hottest fad can also be the most expensive and out of reach for children in limited financial circumstances. Jeremy, living with his Grandma, dreams of wearing the latest cool black high-tops with two white stripes. But as Grandma points out, “There’s no room for ‘want’ around here—just ‘need’ ” and what Jeremy needs and gets is a new pair of winter boots. Jeremy’s quest for new sneakers takes on more urgency when his old pair fall apart, and the only choice is the Velcro baby-blue set meant for little kids found in the school’s donation box by the guidance counselor. Even Grandma understands and together they search several thrift shops and actually find the coveted black high-tops, but they’re too small. Buying them anyway, Jeremy makes a heartfelt decision to put them to a more practical and generous use. Boelts blends themes of teasing, embarrassment and disappointment with kindness and generosity in a realistic interracial school scenario bringing affecting closure to a little boy’s effort to cope in a world filled with materialistic attractions and distractions. Muted browns/greens/blues done in watercolors, pencils and ink, and digitally arranged, add to the story’s expressive affirmation of what is really important. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2499-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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