THE TROUBLE WITH TWINS

Twelve-year-old Holly returns for her third troublesome turn, this time with nearly two-year-old twin brothers. A week before Dylan and Jeremy’s birthday, Holly’s mother and stepfather are busy to the point of testiness. Holly volunteers to plan the boys’ party. She calls her friends from Trouble with Babies (2002), Xavier and Annie. The trio decides on a science-themed party, which isn’t a hit with toddlers . . . at least not the planned aspects. The local barista—who sports a Mohawk, bright clothes and bad jokes—looks like a clown. The cake is nibbled by cats, but Twinkies under whipped topping taste great. The party’s deemed a success, and Holly realizes that twins may be trouble, but they’re wonderful once you’re used to them. The lack of multicultural/alternative family details makes this entry in the series more generic, but its simplicity and realism and Holly’s timorously positive attitude are still charming. Smith’s pen-and-ink illustrations might not always sync up with the text, but they do bring Holly’s world to life. A solid early-chapter purchase for large collections. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2025-4

Page Count: 85

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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