THE SPANISH KIDNAPPING DISASTER

Felicia ("Felix"), 12, recounts her adventures with stepsister Amy, also 12, and Amy's 10-year-old brother, Phillip, when the three are dragged along on their parents' honeymoon. With her attention focused on her bitter feud with Amy, Felix carelessly gives a friendly stranger (Grace), met on the street in Toledo, an exaggerated impression of the family's wealth. Later, her parents accept Grace's offer to take the three kids to to see some windmills—a venture that promptly becomes a kidnapping, planned by Grace as a transfer of what she sees as excess wealth to more needy children. But the plan is perverted by the greed of her unscrupulous accomplices—and, horrified, Grace finally helps her victims escape; in turn, they conceal her part in the venture. The beginning here is comfortably predictable, the climax appropriately suspenseful (as Amy and Felix flee, hide, bicker, and warily begin to accept each other), and the conclusion has some satisfying twists that grow logically out of the lightly sketched but plausible characterizations. While the parents' trust in Grace is improbable, it's an acceptable premise for the genre. Good recreational fare.

Pub Date: March 18, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-55696-1

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2000

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RAMONA'S WORLD

Ramona returns (Ramona Forever, 1988, etc.), and she’s as feisty as ever, now nine-going-on-ten (or “zeroteen,” as she calls it). Her older sister Beezus is in high school, baby-sitting, getting her ears pierced, and going to her first dance, and now they have a younger baby sister, Roberta. Cleary picks up on all the details of fourth grade, from comparing hand calluses to the distribution of little plastic combs by the school photographer. This year Ramona is trying to improve her spelling, and Cleary is especially deft at limning the emotional nuances as Ramona fails and succeeds, goes from sad to happy, and from hurt to proud. The grand finale is Ramona’s birthday party in the park, complete with a cake frosted in whipped cream. Despite a brief mention of nose piercing, Cleary’s writing still reflects a secure middle-class family and untroubled school life, untouched by the classroom violence or the broken families of the 1990s. While her book doesn’t match what’s in the newspapers, it’s a timeless, serene alternative for children, especially those with less than happy realities. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16816-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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100TH DAY WORRIES

1882

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82979-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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