ABIGAIL IRIS

THE ONE AND ONLY

Third grader Abigail Iris is a happy-go-lucky girl. She has a nearly giddy relationship with her loving parents and an almost perfect one with her three siblings, two of whom are half brothers. She feels the pinch, however, of a budgeted household and the inconvenience of sharing her bedroom. She is ecstatic when she can go on vacation with her friend Genevieve, an only child. Instead of camping, they stay in a fancy hotel in San Francisco. Though the perks are great—room service!—Genevieve’s dad is always on his cell phone, her mom verges on cranky and Genevieve starts to appear a bit spoiled. Gaining a new perspective, Abigail begins to miss her family. When the vacation is called to an abrupt halt Abigail is happy enough to adopt the authors’ message: Being one of many is just fine, and more wealth is sometimes worse than less. With Allen’s periodic homespun sketches and a breezy first-person text, this sweet slip of a story is recommended for those girls feeling the squeeze of a crowded and blended family. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9782-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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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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THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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