Much inferior to The Perfect Play (2004), Wener’s first and more mature novel to appear in the US before this fledgling...

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GOODNIGHT STEVE MCQUEEN

A lame, long-winded tale from Wener, a former lead singer with the Brit pop band Sleeper.

“Why is my girlfriend so fed up with me that she feels the need to go and live in a whole other country?” whines narrator Danny McQueen, whose mother was such a Steve McQueen fanatic that she married a man named McQueen. (Because you’re a boring lout, readers who’ve persevered through the novel’s first third to get to this point will reply.) After five years, marketing consultant Alison is fed up with 29 year-old Danny’s rock-star fantasies. He and two mates, one of whom gives him a black eye for being a “self-absorbed, moaning little git,” play for beer at friends’ parties. He gets up at midday, eats his breakfast in front of Supermarket Sweep, and drinks all of Alison’s Bacardi Breezes before she gets home from the office. He should shape up and get a job, says Alison, who’s accepted a six-month reassignment from London to Bruges. Danny tells the band they have to get a recording contract or hang it up. He tracks down an obnoxious high-school buddy who is now the lead singer in a hot band called Scarface and bluffs his way into a contract to back them up on a tour. It’s a vanity deal—his band has to pay $1,000 for the lowly 8–8:30 p.m. time slot—but it’s a gig. By the end of the tour, a reviewer has called them “the next big thing,” and the three have dipped into the life of champagne, cocaine, and groupies. A record deal may be in the works, but that doesn’t make Danny’s life with Alison any easier. Unfortunately, he’s such a flat character it’s hard to care what happens to him.

Much inferior to The Perfect Play (2004), Wener’s first and more mature novel to appear in the US before this fledgling effort, which needn’t have made the flight across the Atlantic.

Pub Date: March 21, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-072563-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2005

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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THERE'S A WARDROBE IN MY MONSTER!

Small, saucy Martha is not a child to put in pink. She wears black-and-white, highly graphic dresses, including one long-sleeved number with a bull’s-eye on the belly. She has mastered the management of her boring goldfish, somnolent cat, and clueless dog, and she opines that it is high time to acquire a large, ugly monster. Forthwith, she marches out with her piggy-bank. The nearest pet shop stocks only small monsters, but one green fellow has an pleasingly awful grin. It’s a done deal: “Keep the pig,” Martha says as she exits with her purchase. Martha knows that the monster eats only wood, but she doesn’t know that twigs will be followed by branches, planks from the dog’s dismantled kennel, her bed legs, and her bottom drawer. As the monster grows, so does its appetite, until the only place left to put it is in the wardrobe—which it promptly eats. Enough is enough for Martha, but the pet shop man offers only exchanges; against his advice, Martha selects an egg with green and purple splotches. As the original monster gets pushed out the back door, readers will delight in the dreadful possibilities inherent in this twist. It’s a romp of a tale to read aloud, with a tongue-in-cheek text; the vigorous pictures more than support and extend this illustrious excursion into the consequences of pet ownership. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 1-57505-414-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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