Whether some adults will find this morally unregenerative, still it's a thoroughly realistic story with lost of very funny...

HARRIET THE SPY

Harriet is an 11-year-old snub-nosed gamin with an elephant child curiosity and, let's face it, a noticing eye that runs to nastiness.

She lives in the city with her parents, generally not around, Miss Golly the nursemaid she had almost outgrown, and she spends all her time annotating what she sees since she wants to be a writer and a ""spy and know everything."" In any case, she often knows too much and this Junior Miss Pinkerton is seen inserting herself everywhere- even in dumbwaiters. After Miss Golly leaves to get married, things go very poorly; Harriet's journal is found by her classmates who pillory her when they read what she has said about them. Her thoughts get meaner and meaner. She does no work in school. There's a (nicely handled) visit to a psychiatrist and then a letter from Miss Golly who gives her some pragmatic advice—"sometimes you have to lie" or apologize...

Whether some adults will find this morally unregenerative, still it's a thoroughly realistic story with lost of very funny scenes and commentaries, and it features one of the hardest to handle, easiest to like heroines in a long time. Illustrations by the author not seen.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1964

ISBN: 978-0-385-32783-1

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 1964

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1964

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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90 MILES TO HAVANA

After Castro’s takeover, nine-year-old Julian and his older brothers are sent away by their fearful parents via “Operation Pedro Pan” to a camp in Miami for Cuban-exile children. Here he discovers that a ruthless bully has essentially been put in charge. Julian is quicker-witted than his brothers or anyone else ever imagined, though, and with his inherent smarts, developing maturity and the help of child and adult friends, he learns to navigate the dynamics of the camp and surroundings and grows from the former baby of the family to independence and self-confidence. A daring rescue mission at the end of the novel will have readers rooting for Julian even as it opens his family’s eyes to his courage and resourcefulness. This autobiographical novel is a well-meaning, fast-paced and often exciting read, though at times the writing feels choppy. It will introduce readers to a not-so-distant period whose echoes are still felt today and inspire admiration for young people who had to be brave despite frightening and lonely odds. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-168-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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