A well-written and engaging cautionary tale about the issues facing preteen girls in modern society.

Audrey's Garden

A young girl moves with her family to the suburbs, leaving her best friend behind and learning that relationships and growing up are more complicated than she imagined.

In this debut novel, 10-year-old Audrey Tabor has a “pretty terrific” life in Boston with her parents, little brother, and best friend, Milly, right across the street. The only downside is their cramped city apartment with no yard to play in, so Audrey is thrilled when her parents find a house they can afford in the nearby suburb of Greenwood Springs. She is sad to leave Milly behind but excited about her new life, and she even finds a new good friend in Gretchen, a girl in her fifth-grade class. Gretchen warns her about the “Style Girls,” a clique of mean preteens who rule the fifth grade by promoting superficial values of fashion and wealth and aiming vicious barbs at any girl who doesn’t measure up. Audrey is confused, however, when the Style Girls approach her and offer her a place in the group. They seem so nice, so cool, and, almost without realizing it, Audrey abandons Gretchen and Milly and finds she is willing to do almost anything to remain in the clique. Koresky expertly unravels the closely woven threads of social insecurity, economic class, and body image that have begun to shape the lives of 21st-century girls at an earlier and earlier age. Although the reader can see the perilous situation Audrey embraces, her portrayal is so sensitive and realistic that one never loses sympathy with her as she begins to lie to her friends and family, adopt the Style Girls’ aristocratic cruelty, and diet to the point of emaciation, all the while realizing that she will never really fit in. The one glaring omission is any mention of the internet and the cyberbullying that would doubtless appeal to the cellphone-addicted Style Girls. The ending is somewhat pat, but since Audrey’s character is so well-developed and the supporting cast so strong, her journey still resonates.

A well-written and engaging cautionary tale about the issues facing preteen girls in modern society.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9839460-2-1

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Flying Corgi Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.


A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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