Remy’s quiet tale of change and growth marks a promising start to a new series.

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WELCOME TO DOG BEACH

From the Seagate Summers Series series , Vol. 1

A characteristically sensitive exploration of the emotional life of preteens from Greenwald.

Eleven-year-old Remy relishes her summers on Seagate Island with her best friends, Micayla and Bennett, and begins her first-person, present-tense story emphasizing her resistance to change. By summer’s end, she has moved to an acknowledgment that change can be positive, even becoming an agent for change on her beloved island. Remy’s grandmother, a year-round Seagate resident, died three years ago, but the death of Grandma’s dog, Danish, occurred more recently. Remy discovers a way to grieve for Danish with her first real summer job, as residents happily use her dogsitting expertise. Meanwhile, Remy slowly adjusts to the warm welcome Bennett gives to new kids on the island, eventually relinquishing her label of “the downers” for twins Calvin and Claire and even figuring out a way to honor the twins’ grandfather at an annual Seagate celebration. The book starts out slowly, but readers who continue with the story will find reward as they become familiar with an endearing protagonist, her human and canine friends, and the other residents of Seagate Island. The gentle humor and acceptance of the strong emotions that can arise from fairly benign situations—particularly in the world of preteens—are evocative of Beverly Cleary’s novels, with a comfortable injection of 21st-century technology.

Remy’s quiet tale of change and growth marks a promising start to a new series. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1018-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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