CHARLES DICKENS AND FRIENDS

FIVE LIVELY RETELLINGS

With small, teeming cartoon scenes so boisterous that they frequently burst their borders, Williams (Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare!, 2000, etc.) catapults readers headlong through five of Dickens’s best-known melodramas, introducing an array of curly-haired naifs, roundly vivacious young women, and pasty-faced villains, as well as those distinctively colorful supporting casts of orphans, convicts, ne’er-do-wells, widows, pickpockets, ghosts, and more—all of whom speak in snatches of Dickens’s own dialogue. Taking each tale’s original narrative voice, Williams fills in the gaps with necessarily substantial captions, and for additional atmosphere adds borders of dingy London rooftops, or groups of gnomes and other small creatures observing the action from the margins. Williams’s figures may be tiny, but their personalities are distinctly larger than life; just as Oliver Twist, Bill Sikes, icky Uriah Heep, Scrooge, Miss Havisham, and the rest came alive for Dickens, so will they come alive for readers years (or decades) away from tackling the full length originals. Pair this with Diane Stanley’s Charles Dickens: The Man Who Had Great Expectations (1993) to lay far, far better groundwork for a later appreciation of some timeless classics than filmed versions, or more conventional abridgements, ever could. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1905-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2002

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JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD!

McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS!

For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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