ANASTASIA KRUPNIK

Disappointing after A Summer to Die (1977), this episodic story takes Anastasia, ten, from her parents' unwelcome announcement that they're expecting a second child to her acceptance of the baby brother when he's born. A changing list of "Things I Love" and "Things I Hate" helps tie together Anastasia's experiences: she writes a poem which is not appreciated by her stereotypically unenlightened teacher; she visits her professor-father's college English class where she's the only one to relate to the Wordsworth poem under discussion (his students are stereotypically spacey); she decides to turn Catholic so she can choose a new name but backs out when she learns about confession; she falls in and out of love with a cool sixth-grade boy with an Afro; and she becomes attached to her senile grandmother. As in other kids' stories with sympathetic college-teacher fathers, this dad seems stuffier and less bright than he's meant to be—and Anastasia's poem seems less genuine than intended. And with Anastasia's vindictive secret choice for the baby's name, Lowry seems to be playing to an adult audience: Anastasia's father has put the choice of a name in her hands, and she plans to spring "One-Ball Reilly" on him when the time comes. Of course, she backs out and chooses her grandfather's name—more in memory of her grandmother, who dies just before the baby's birth. This way of remembering Grandmother is just one example of Lowry's linking of different threads and episodes, which she does well throughout the book. It is neatly crafted and stout for its genre, but entirely without the emotional conviction of A Summer to Die.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 1979

ISBN: 0395286298

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1979

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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