HARRY THE POISONOUS CENTIPEDE’S BIG ADVENTURE

ANOTHER STORY TO MAKE YOU SQUIRM

In this second book about Harry the Poisonous Centipede (1998) our intrepid hero and his friend George are captured by a "hoo-man" and are catapulted into a series of adventures precipitated by the need to find their way home. Banks, in the Indian in the Cupboard books, has previously used the traditional device of having an inanimate object or a tiny creature as the focus of a story with great success. But in spite of an unusual hero and a potentially interesting premise, this book is seriously flawed. The condescending, intrusive, irritating voice of the narrator dooms it from the start. Do you want facts about centipedes? The reader is not exactly "really lucky to have me to tell you about them." Again and again poor Harry is left in the dark about key elements in his adventures, but "you can know because I'll tell you." Most of the adventures suffer from poor construction and repetition. Although every episode places the centipedes in mortal danger and they land on their many feet every time, they succeed more often by lucky intervention than by ingenuity. Just in case the reader is unaware of these fortunate coincidences, that pesky narrator is there with asides and reminders, and to state outright that sheer luck is responsible for the heroes’ escape. Ross's black-and-white, engaging illustrations provide lively visual clarity, but they cannot save this mess. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-029139-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE COOKIE-STORE CAT

There is an ineffable sweetness in Rylant’s work, which skirts the edge of sentimentality but rarely tumbles, saved by her simple artistry. This companion piece to The Bookshop Dog (1996) relates how the cookie-store cat was found, a tiny, skinny kitten, very early one day as the bakers came in to work. The cat gets morning kisses, when the bakers tell him that he is “sweeter than any cookie” and “prettier than marzipan.” Then he makes his rounds, out the screen door painted with “cherry drops and gingerbread men” to visit the fish-shop owner, the yarn lady, and the bookshop, where Martha Jane makes a cameo appearance. Back at the cookie store, the cat listens to Father Eugene, who eats his three Scotch chewies and tells about the new baby in the parish, and sits with the children and their bags of cookies. At Christmas he wears a bell and a red ribbon, and all the children get free Santa cookies. The cheerful illustrations are done in paint as thick as frosting; the flattened shapes and figures are a bit cookie-shaped themselves. A few recipes are included in this yummy, comforting book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-54329-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

GORILLA WALK

PLB 0-688-16510-9 This true adventure in the jungles of Uganda on the trail of the mountain gorilla will make armchair travelers shiver, and leave the squeamish grateful not to be trudging through mucky ankle-deep swamps, traversing giant fallen fig tree bridges over ravines that drop hundreds of feet into rocks and thorns, and coping with dreaded stinging safari ants. The Lewins traveled to Uganda in 1997, to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for an opportunity to view the mountain gorillas that have been habituated. Every step of the way the authors provide thumbnail sketches of plants and animals, and a detailed description of the journey. The gorillas appear in watercolor paintings that are dramatic and realistic, for a picture- book adventure not to be missed, and, with the continuing unrest in the area, perhaps not to be replicated any time soon. (map, index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16509-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more