SHENANDOAH

DAUGHTER OF THE STARS

In this book for young readers, three children grow up in a hurry as the U.S. Civil War rages.
Hannah, 13, lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. She, her younger brother, Willy, and their friend Charlie, who is sweet on Hannah, have always spent their time helping on their farms and playing cards with Crazy, a hermit who lives in a nearby cave. But it’s the middle of the Civil War, the effects of which everyone is feeling. Charlie’s older brother died at Gettysburg, his father is an invalid thanks to war wounds, and Charlie is a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute, yearning to get into the fight. Now, the Yankee Army is moving through Virginia, burning farms as they go, and though Hannah’s family is against slavery, they know the federal troops will not spare their farm. Hannah finds herself left behind with her parents as Willy joins Mosby’s raiders and Charlie and his fellow cadets are conscripted into the Confederate army under Gen. John Breckinridge. Hannah’s formerly idyllic country childhood is shattered, and now her courage and ability to survive are tested as the ravages of war arrive on her doorstep. In this, her third book for young people about the Civil War, author Johnson shows war from an adolescent’s point of view. The emotional development comes through for engaging and believable characters as they experience not just war, but also the normal changes that children experience during their teenage years. The writing flows well, with enough detail to be informative without seeming didactic. There’s one minor bump, however, when Willy runs off, with no mention of whether his parents were worried, which seems odd. But overall, the story is a convincing one, presenting the realities of a war zone well, though with a light touch appropriate for a young audience.

A well-told story of coming of age in war-torn Virginia.

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0989435642

Page Count: 146

Publisher: eFrog Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more