UNACCOUNTED FOR

Another teen dealing with consequences of dishonesty and cover-ups from Cappo (Cheating Lessons, 2011), though the stakes are higher in this murder mystery set in a small, blue-collar Michigan town.

We first meet Milo Shoemaker, an upstanding high school senior, the day of his father’s funeral. Milo’s dad was an accountant at Wolverine Motors, manufacturers of fire trucks in the town of Valeene, and the company prides itself on not having taken a government bailout like the big three automakers. The circumstances surrounding the death of Milo’s father are suspicious—was it an accident, suicide for insurance or, worse, murder? Clues pop up that lead Milo to finagle a job at the plant where he can snoop out the truth. Did his dad cook the books to pay off a gambling debt? Or is it something more sinister? Proving his dad’s innocence could take down the town’s biggest employer and tarnish the reputation of its president, a hero of sorts that Milo holds in high regard for hiring his father when he was down on his luck. Milo is a teen with character and morals; he helps out around the house and takes care of his younger twin siblings. Adding the virginal quality, although commendable, is a tad overdone and predictable in young adult fiction lately. Cappo’s occasional odd choice of adjectives can seem arbitrary and a bit befuddling, as in “the oily Pearce” when referring to the shady, suspect payroll supervisor, and the line “J’azzmin had stealthily replaced their headsets.” It’s when Milo’s best friend—the athletic, charming Zaffer, whose summer job in security and grounds keeping at Wolverine gives him access to off-limit areas of the building—and the boss’ attractive daughter, Ellie, join in on the sleuthing that the plot moves along at a brisk pace with plenty of action, romance and intrigue. Milo’s unyielding determination to discover the truth and expose corporate fraud will likely make Cappo’s page-turner a hit with those sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983822202

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Tadmar

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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