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ASTRID THE UNSTOPPABLE

An excellent translation of a contemporary European classic.

A young girl uncovers startling secrets.

Astrid has long enjoyed being the only child in the small Norwegian village of Glimmerdal. The energetic 10-year-old spends her days skiing along the hillside and sledding through town, bringing laughter wherever she goes. Astrid’s got lovely parents and an adoring godfather, Gunnvald, and doesn’t want a single thing to change. Of course change does come, first in the form of a new family with children moving to Glimmerdal, and then a mysterious woman whom everyone else in town seems to know already. Astrid, resourceful as ever, digs for answers. Readers looking for a warm and cozy tale to bundle up with on the couch during the winter months will find plenty to enjoy here. Parr’s original Norwegian text, published in 2009, has been compared to Heidi and Pippi Longstocking, and Puzey’s translation effortlessly conveys that sense for American readers. The warm tone and endearing characters do most of the heavy lifting here: Parr’s narrative is structured loosely and paced leisurely. Some younger readers accustomed to the snappy rhythms of American middle-grade fiction may feel an itch here and there for a quicker pace, but for those inclined to hang out with Astrid and Gunnvald—and this includes adults in the mood for a cheery change of pace—the rewards are plentiful. Glimmerdal’s population is evidently all white.

An excellent translation of a contemporary European classic. (Fiction. 8-12, adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0017-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2018

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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