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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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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