An emotional story with a relatable animal protagonist and gentle messages about the interconnectedness of all life.

READ REVIEW

THE BIG ADVENTURES OF LITTLE O

A SONG FOR THE SALMON

A young orca’s search for salmon turns into a magical odyssey in Hanna’s debut illustrated chapter book.

Over the course of this brief tale, a whale named Little O braves dangers and unfamiliar seas to find his mother, his pod mates, and the life-giving salmon that have disappeared from the whales’ usual feeding grounds. At various points, he’s threatened by a vicious killer whale who attacks and eats his own kind; he meets a helpful porpoise and a humorous otter; and he gets tangled in some flotsam and rescued by a great blue heron. He also befriends a salmon-seeking grizzly cub, and finds that he can speak with a soulful, light-skinned human named Ruby. The whale encounters the girl as she sails under the night sky and prays to the moon for the salmon to come back. (How humans factor into the ocean’s changes is present but subtly handled.) Little O finds comfort and inspiration in mystical, dream-time sojourns, which involve communing with Mother Nature, flying through the sky, and running through the forest in the form of a human boy. The book leans heavily into the formulaic uplift of slogans such as “follow your heart” and “embrace who you are.” However, Hanna, a poet and visual artist based in British Columbia, goes deeper, with vivid descriptive language; for instance, Little O, in his boy form, touches the clouds, “tugs at the fog, like picking apples from a tree, and scatters the fragile blossoms of white far below.” Throughout, the author communicates empathy and respect for nature through Little O’s adventures and reveals how the disappearance of salmon affects other creatures, including people. The cycle-of-life message at the end is deeply moving, and Hanna’s color illustrations are expressive, with delicate watercolor tints and curving, decorated shapes.

An emotional story with a relatable animal protagonist and gentle messages about the interconnectedness of all life.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5255-5015-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more