An addition that delicately illustrates the Cuban-American experience through a poetic and scientific lens not often seen.

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FOREST WORLD

Young People’s Poet Laureate Engle (Enchanted Air, 2016, etc.) brings readers the alternating poetic voices of a brother and sister navigating the complexity of their family dynamics and of “twenty-first-century attitudes / toward nature.”

Cuban-born, Miami-raised Edver, ne Verde, is sent by his cryptozoologist mother to Cuba to meet his father, not knowing that he has a sister just one year older waiting for him as well. Twelve-year-old Luza, nee Azul, is eager to meet her younger brother but soon feels the disparity in how they have grown up. Neither sibling understands the choices the adults in their lives have made—choices that have kept these two who could be twins, one with curly, one with straight hair, but both with “the same reddish-brown skin, black eyes, / fierce glares, and reversed names,” apart. Edver and Luza come together when they find themselves protecting the forest world they love. Readers may be unsatisfied with the unsurprising denouement, but the book arrives at a realistic open ending, and the poetic journey is one of rich juxtapositions between the real and the marvelous, technology and nature, science and art, past histories and possible futures.

An addition that delicately illustrates the Cuban-American experience through a poetic and scientific lens not often seen. (glossary of biodiversity words) (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9057-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Warm, delicious and filling.

PIE

What do you get when you take some scrumptious pie recipes, stir in a mix-up of a mystery involving an overweight cat and a legacy, then add a sly satirical nod to the Newbery Medal? This irresistible confection.  

In 1955, 10-year-old Alice’s beloved Aunt Polly, the peerless “Pie Queen of Ipswitch,” who has always given away the extraordinary products of her oven simply because it makes her happy, dies. She bequeaths her incomparable piecrust recipe to Lardo, her cat—or does she?—and leaves Lardo to Alice. Thus the stage is set for a rich, layered and funny tale about friendship, family relationships and doing what’s right. The characters are wonderfully drawn. While doing her best to carry on Aunt Polly’s legacy, trying to figure out how to wrest the secret from the cat, dealing with a nefarious woman poking around town and learning about the renowned “Blueberry Medal,” which everyone in town is trying to win, Alice draws closer to her mom, a resolution Aunt Polly would have cherished. Alice and her family eventually discover the solution to the mystery in a plot twist that is both comical and plausible. An epilogue, set in 1995, is deeply poignant and gratifying. In addition to the beautifully wrought story, readers will savor and want to attempt the 14 recipes, each of which precedes a chapter.

Warm, delicious and filling.   (recipes, pie credits) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-27011-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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A delicious confection and much more: it shows that the human heart is delicate, that it matters, and that it must be...

CIRCUS MIRANDUS

One strange afternoon, 10-year-old Micah Tuttle finds out that magic is real.

Micah always thought Grandpa Ephraim’s wild stories of the centuries-old Circus Mirandus were spun solely for his amusement. But when his dying grandfather writes a letter to the “Lightbender,” hoping to call in the miracle the magician had promised him as a boy, Micah learns the stories were true, and the appearance of Ms. Chintzy, the circus’ cantankerous parrot messenger, clinches the deal. Happily, Micah finds a loyal if somewhat challenging friend to help him track down the elusive light-bending magician: the magic-leery, science-minded Jenny Mendoza. Their budding rapport is nuanced and complex, a refreshing illustration of how absolute like-mindedness is not a prerequisite for friendship. On one level, the book is a fantastical circus romp, with fortunetelling vultures and “a wallaby that could burp the Greek alphabet.” On another, it’s both serious and thick with longing: Micah’s ache for the companionship of his once-vital guardian-grandfather; Grandpa Ephraim’s boyhood yearning for his absent father, as fleshed out in flashbacks; the circus founders’ desire to keep enchantment alive in a world where “faith is such a fragile thing.”

A delicious confection and much more: it shows that the human heart is delicate, that it matters, and that it must be handled with care. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-42843-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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