IF IT HADN'T BEEN FOR YOON JUN

Though for a younger audience, Lee's second shares concerns about race with her fine debut, Finding My Voice (1992). Alice, Korean by birth but adopted as a baby, is a fully assimilated, typical teenager; she made the cheerleading squad and is gaining the attention of one of her school's cutest boys. Her pastor father, who frequently suggests that she take more interest in her background, asks her to meet and be kind to a new Korean boy. But Yoon Jun speaks little English and is pudgy and ``foreign''; Alice, who thinks of herself as American, hates being lumped with him in either thoughtless comments of friends or malicious name- calling (both are called ``gooks'' at one point). After a school project brings the two together, Alice begins to appreciate her cultural roots and, in a gratuitous ending, Yoon Jun saves her life by throwing her out of the path of an oncoming car. Although Lee strives to make Alice's dilemma real, both Alice and Yoon Jun seem grafted onto what is otherwise a formula look at junior high. Lee's perspective is only too welcome, but a worn-out rendering does it little service. Disappointing. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-395-62941-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.).

POPPY

From the Poppy series , Vol. 3

An adolescent mouse named Poppy is off on a romantic tryst with her rebel boyfriend when they are attacked by Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules over the area.

He kills the boyfriend, but Poppy escapes and Mr. Ocax vows to catch her. Mr. Ocax has convinced all the mice that he is their protector when, in fact, he preys on them mercilessly. When the mice ask his permission to move to a new house, he refuses, blaming Poppy for his decision. Poppy suspects that there is another reason Mr. Ocax doesn't want them to move and investigates to clear her name. With the help of a prickly old porcupine and her quick wits, Poppy defeats her nemesis and her own fears, saving her family in the bargain. 

The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.). (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09483-9

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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