THE GREAT PONY HASSLE

Double trouble in a lightweight horse-story: When the mother of ten-year-old twins Staci and Toni marries the father of ten- year-old twins Stirling and Paisley, conflict is inevitable. Most outspoken of the four, Paisley insists on having a pony of her own; her father, caught in a weak moment, agrees. While he's honeymooning, Paisley finds the horse of her dreams; unfortunately, it's also the horse of Staci's dreams, causing much anguish and envy. While Staci fumes, Paisley prepares for the pony's arrival, finding an ally in Toni, who braves heat and hungry chiggers to help ready the back yard for ``Noodles.'' Springer delineates her characters well; seen from Staci's point of view, the grumpy, sweaty pettiness of the horse-less girls permeates the prose. Though the resolution is too good to be true (all four girls get horses), and the real issues of blending families are barely explored, young horse-story lovers will hop on eagerly for a quick ride. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8037-1306-1

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1993

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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