An accessible look at grief, spirituality, and growth.

REPAIRING THE WORLD

Ask anyone in Roosevelt Cove, New York: Daisy Rubens and Ruby Affini come as a pair.

Daisy—Jewish, curly-haired, and freckled—approaches the world with caution and an analytical mind. Meanwhile Ruby—Catholic, with olive-toned skin and straight, dark hair—sees magic everywhere and isn’t afraid of anything. When Ruby dies in an accident the summer before sixth grade, Daisy finds herself bereft of wonder. With the patience and compassion of her loving parents, her whimsical Aunt Toby, and some unfamiliar faces at school and synagogue, she slowly discovers new joy in life. Each character is richly imagined, their idiosyncrasies pondered and celebrated as Daisy parses her way through a world of connections without her best friend by her side. The novel finds its title in the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, and Daisy’s journey is one of repairing herself. Depictions of Jewish life and belief—in all its contemporary formulations—ring true, but where the novel really shines is through its use of sensory and emotional details. With incredible specificity and heart, Epstein carries Daisy through her grief, demystifying the experience of tragedy for her middle-grade audience. The book reads like a field guide for surviving the unimaginable: the prose simple but clearsighted, the plot an unassuming canvas against which characters and emotions bloom.

An accessible look at grief, spirituality, and growth. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9855-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy.

ALMOST SUPER

Inventively tweaking a popular premise, Jensen pits two Incredibles-style families with superpowers against each other—until a new challenge rises to unite them.

The Johnsons invariably spit at the mere mention of their hated rivals, the Baileys. Likewise, all Baileys habitually shake their fists when referring to the Johnsons. Having long looked forward to getting a superpower so that he too can battle his clan’s nemeses, Rafter Bailey is devastated when, instead of being able to fly or something else cool, he acquires the “power” to strike a match on soft polyester. But when hated classmate Juanita Johnson turns up newly endowed with a similarly bogus power and, against all family tradition, they compare notes, it becomes clear that something fishy is going on. Both families regard themselves as the heroes and their rivals as the villains. Someone has been inciting them to fight each other. Worse yet, that someone has apparently developed a device that turns real superpowers into silly ones. Teaching themselves on the fly how to get past their prejudice and work together, Rafter, his little brother, Benny, and Juanita follow a well-laid-out chain of clues and deductions to the climactic discovery of a third, genuinely nefarious family, the Joneses, and a fiendishly clever scheme to dispose of all the Baileys and Johnsons at once. Can they carry the day?

A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy. (Adventure. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-220961-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more