STARRING GRACE by Mary Hoffman


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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The creators of the popular picture books Amazing Grace (1991) and Boundless Grace (1995) have brought fans a beginning chapter book about Grace and her friends. It’s summer, and the kids keep each other busy playing circus and jungle explorers, inventing a time machine, and trying out for the local production of Annie. Grace learns, as always, important lessons—about privacy, friendship, and family—from her Ma and Nana and neighbor Mrs. Myerson. She and her friends get along well, and always have a good idea for a new game. Curiously, they use expressions like “chatting,” “odds and ends,” and “squabble,” making them sound British. (Hoffman lives in London, but she’s set the story in the US.) Each of the eight chapters is episodic, and though they are linked to each other, there is no binding plot. Hoffman’s narrative style is nearly identical to that in her picture books and, unfortunately, does not provide much in the way of setting. In the picture books, this was compensated for by the illustrations; here, Binch's black-and-white art (not seen) is only occasional, and Hoffman hasn’t made the leap to a style that will engage readers in a chapter-book format. Nor does she introduce the characters, who are difficult to get to know until well into the story, to readers new to the books. However, readers already familiar with these characters may enjoy learning about their new adventures. (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8037-2559-0
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2000


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