A down-to-earth, practical advice manual gleaned from readers’ letters to American Girl, asking for advice about divorce. With “one out of every two marriages in America ends in divorce,” readers are told that, if it happens in their families, the most important thing they can do is to “talk.” Beginning with the split-up and explaining how divorce works, this guide discusses the problems: wishful thinking (that parents will reunite), the one girl/two homes tug-of-war, stepparents, and stepfamilies. Holyoke’s tone is one of love and understanding’she validates the hurt and confusion while giving wise advice on how to deal with the pain and how then to move on. Interspersed with the text are quizzes (which, unfortunately for institutions, ask readers to “circle” and “check” their answers); the answers offer insight into all sorts of situations. A savvy, simple book that will become a must for some girls of divorcing parents. (further reading) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56247-749-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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Although this novel is burdened by various issues of credibility, Hobbs delivers a fast-paced, engrossing read with two characters on opposite ends of the ethical spectrum who meet in the all-too-human middle. Dubbed “little Mister Sunshine” by his mother, good-natured Charlie, 11, has always been the emotionally stable fixer in his family, the one who “jumped in and tried to make things right.” When his mother and father announce that they are separating, Charlie decides to run away from home “to teach his parents a lesson, make them realize what a broken family felt like before it was too late.” Making use of his Boy Scout training, Charlie packs his knapsack with survival gear and takes to the road. The straightforward but emotionally engrossing plot immediately catches fire when Charlie hooks up with Doo—an outwardly tough, inwardly vulnerable 14-year-old girl who is on the run for far more pressing reasons—and culminates when they meet up with some unsavory youth. Without preaching, the simple but eloquent narrative and realistic dialogue illuminate Charlie, a principled child who struggles to keep his head up in increasingly turbulent moral waters. Hobbs asks readers to suspend disbelief through encounters in drug dens and tough-guy police grillings; once they do, the story will have them in its grip. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-34994-0

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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Anticipating the visit of a favorite person is half the fun. Planning all the things he likes to do, the narrator of this celebration of childhood, includes telling knock-knock jokes, visiting a construction site, picking up lucky pennies, drinking hot chocolate, cooking, eating and cleaning up together, and just having a good time. What the narrator doesn’t like is putting on scratchy dress-up clothes, eating “funny-looking food,” or watching movies that are too “kissy.” Shields (Martian Rock, 1999, etc.) tells the story from the narrator’s point of view and then delivers a punchy surprise ending for this absolutely charming tale of grandfather and grandson. Nakata’s gentle watercolors for her first picture-book illustrations are alive with color, movement, and humor. They support and extend the text with funny little bits that provoke a grin and a chuckle. The love this grandfather and grandchild have for each other fills every page. A good read-aloud selection for the younger crowd and a nice addition to grandparents’ collections of books to share. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-46450-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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