DORRIE'S BOOK

Dorrie wrote this book herself as a school assignment which helps us to excuse her indulgence in the material luxuries of being an only child—Dad's Caesar salads, Christopher Parkening playing Villa-Lobos on the stereo, a two bedroom apartment overlooking the Golden Gate bridge, and there's even an ingenuous admission that the adult world has pegged Dorrie as both an MGM (mentally gifted minor) and an obnoxious brat. Things change rapidly when Mom's long hoped for second child turns into triplets—placid Deirdre, screaming Randolph and hungry Raymond. The family, now double, moves into a rundown old house and onto a new regime of TV dinners and petty squabbles. And the new neighborhood brings them Genevieve and Harold. . . she's a big help with Randolph and both kids sort of attach themselves to the family after their mother abandons them. Dorrie, having lost her parents' attention is knee deep in self pity though under the circumstances it's hard to blame her. And you'll be ready to appreciate the cathartic fantasy ending she writes to her own story, which has Dorrie discovering twelve bodies and a treasure buried in the backyard and being adopted by an admiring police inspector who will train her to become a great detective. Dorrie's teacher marks her down for this conclusion (Mom explains that fiction is supposed to end with the loose ends tied up) but we find it marvelously liberating. Otherwise her garrulous precocity and, we expect, the reader's sheer relief at having been spared sibling problems of this magnitude, make this an empathic entertainment. Sachs has come closer to the homely truth of family life without resorting to the slightly frenzied humor one finds here, but, big vocabulary and all, Dorrie is still individual enough to survive such a whopping adjustment.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0380761394

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1975

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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