Set in Mexico, this tear-inducing tale tells the story of an 11-year-old girl’s physical and mental recovery after falling out of a tree. “Your daughter broke her back and is paralyzed from the waist down,” the doctor coldly tells Lupe’s shocked, grieving parents. “There is nothing more to be done.” And so begins Lupe’s heart-wrenching journey from despair and helplessness to acceptance and competence. After nearly dying from an infected pressure sore, Lupe is sent to a residential rehabilitation center. In her first novel, Bang’s (Harley, p. 414, etc.) simple, matter-of-fact language allows the reader to see the real nitty-gritty of Lupe’s situation without being too graphic. “The pressure sore on Lupe’s back wasn’t pretty. It was full of pus and blood and it was oozing around the edges.” As Lupe begins to recover physically, her ferocious spirit—her family moniker is Tigrilla Loca, or Crazy Little Tiger—does too. Her initial act of self-directed behavior comes when she cleans and dresses an open sore on an injured donkey, utilizing the knowledge she gleaned from her own treatment. It’s a major turning point for Lupe, the first time she’s felt capable since her injury. Lupe is soon given the job of helping a severely disabled youngster and realizes that the ability to help someone else is a gift, not a gift she would have selected over having the use of her legs, but a gift nevertheless. Unsentimental yet moving, Bang’s story lets the reader see and feel what it might be like to be in Lupe’s shoes. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6689-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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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...


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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