HERBERT ROWBARGE

Why is successful Herbert Rowbarge so cold of heart, so lacking in the delight or merriment one would expect of someone so devoted to his popular amusement park and its old-fashioned merry-go-round? The answer, readers are aware throughout, is that "a vital piece of him was wrenched away in his third month of life"—a twin brother adopted from the Home to which both abandoned infants were confined when a day old. After that Herbert's first pleasure in life is a second-hand Noah's Ark, with the animals all in pairs except for "one lonely lion that had lost his twin forever." (It is to the pair of lions on his merry-go-round that the grown-up Herbert goes for comfort.) At three, he finds joy in an entrance-hall mirror, but his tantrums on being carried away result in his being exiled from the hall. Through life, he experiences a pleasurable but terrible "twinkling down the spine" when he catches himself in a mirror. Herbert never returns the affection of his "older brother" from the Home, though the two are business partners through life. He marries for money, is repelled by his wife, and resents through life the twin daughters she bears five years before her death. When they are 40, he arranges for one of the twins to live with and care for a newly widowed aunt; as it doesn't matter which one goes—he can't tell them apart anyway—the two switch off by the month between their aunt's house and their father's. In his later years Herbert has a few near-brushes with his twin, but is never aware of the other man's existence—not even when he kills him in a car accident on the day of his own death at 72. Babbitt alternates chapters in Herbert's life, from birth to death, with dry observations of his devoted 45-year-old daughters Babe and Louisa on those last days before his death liberates them to live together in drab contentment. It's an expertly turned artifact of a story, which is not to deny its human sympathy and penetrating edge.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1982

ISBN: 046004642X

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1982

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

CINDERELLA

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more