A fun, fast-paced read that will please zany young readers.


Winsley Walker and Other Flying Objects

In this middle-grade novel, a bookish young girl finds herself plagued with anxiety when her troublemaking grandfather decides to build the world’s smallest passenger plane.

Twelve-year-old Winsley Walker is constantly worrying about her family’s zany antics, which are infamous in the small town of Cross Lanes, West Virginia. Her younger brother, Billy, is constantly getting into mischief at school, and her grandparents, who live next door, don’t exactly provide a calming influence. Her Gramps is the kind of person who drives a flashy turquoise Thunderbird and steals rosebushes from the local cemetery for a Mother’s Day present; after all, “Don’t reckon dead bodies out at Our Eternal Life are going to be getting a whiff of anything, except their own stinkin’ decaying bodies.” By contrast, Winsley prefers to spend her days quietly plowing through piles of books from the local mobile library. When a “You Can Build Anything” catalog arrives in the mail, Gramps determines to build the world’s smallest passenger plane and use it to finally achieve fame and fortune. Winsley develops an anxiety-induced twitch at the thought; she’s willing to do almost anything to thwart his plans so that the whole family doesn’t get kicked out of West Virginia. Debut author Craddock, drawing from her own childhood memories, brings to life a colorful and quirky cast of characters: Stubborn dreamer Gramps and tough, moonshine-swilling Granny are both family members whom many an adventurous child would love to have next door. It’s a shame that the least likable and interesting of the bunch is Winsley herself. Her devotion to respectability and responsibility is so total that she feels less like a preteen girl and more like a wet blanket. At one point she even goes so far as to turn away a delivery of plane-building supplies by telling the deliveryman that Gramps died from choking on a chicken bone. Fortunately, the supporting characters provide enough fun to compensate for her excessive seriousness and help the novel reach a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.

A fun, fast-paced read that will please zany young readers.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500750527

Page Count: 196

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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