Endearing

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ONCE UPON A WINTER

From the Orchard series , Vol. 2

Sometimes a new place makes old friends into strangers, or so it seems to Peter Wu.

After his dads move him and his twin sister, Olive, from Boston to racially and ethnically diverse New Amity, New Hampshire, he becomes invisible. Olive spends all her time with new friends; Peter tags along and tries to join the conversation, but his voice is quickly drowned out. Feeling lonely and unheard, his only solace is playing “Elf Mirror,” a video game in which the player must save a mythical land from a dragon. A new classmate, olive-skinned Kai Delikatua, shakes things up at school when he walks into Peter’s language arts class. He is defiant and not afraid to speak up; he is also a fan of “Elf Mirror.” Peter decides that Kai will be his new friend. However, Kai’s idea of friendship is a bit too daring for Peter, and he might not be the perfect playmate. But is it too late for Peter to rekindle old friendships? Atwood’s latest in the Orchard series is an empathetic journey through Peter’s struggle to find his voice, and readers will recognize his trouble interpreting murky emotions. They will also appreciate seeing how the patience and understanding exhibited by his fathers create a safe space for Peter to explore his feelings and experiences. Andrewson’s illustrations add a whimsical charm to each chapter, depicting Peter and Olive as black.

Endearing . (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9049-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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THE WILLOUGHBYS RETURN

From the Willoughbys series

The incompetent parents from The Willoughbys (2008) find themselves thawed by global warming.

Henry and Frances haven’t aged since the accident that buried them in snow and froze them for 30 years in the Swiss Alps. Their Rip van Winkle–ish return is archly comedic, with the pair, a medical miracle, realizing (at last!) how much they’ve lost and how baffled they are now. Meanwhile, their eldest son, Tim, is grown and in charge of his adoptive father’s candy empire, now threatened with destitution by a congressional ban on candy (opposed by an unnamed Bernie Sanders). He is father to 11-year-old Richie, who employs ad-speak whenever he talks about his newest toys, like a remote-controlled car (“The iconic Lamborghini bull adorns the hubcaps and hood”). But Richie envies Winston Poore, the very poor boy next door, who has a toy car carved for him by his itinerant encyclopedia-salesman father. Winston and his sister, Winifred, plan to earn money for essentials by offering their services as companions to lonely Richie while their mother dabbles, spectacularly unsuccessfully, in running a B&B. Lowry’s exaggerated characters and breezy, unlikely plot are highly entertaining. She offers humorous commentary both via footnotes advising readers of odd facts related to the narrative and via Henry and Frances’ reentry challenges. The threads of the story, with various tales of parents gone missing, fortunes lost or never found, and good luck in the end, are gathered most satisfactorily and warmheartedly.

Highly amusing. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-42389-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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