Pussninks’ hijinks are enjoyable but undermined by the odd structure and strangely constructed illustrations.




A three-legged cat shows he’s even more capable of mischief than the other pets in his house in this good-humored, mostly rhyming debut from Lindsay, with illustrations by picture-book veteran Nacaytuna (Note Cards for Everyone from Tiny Hands, 2018, etc.).

With an image that shows the face of the orange-and-white tabby cat, the opening poem advises readers that they may find Pussninks to be different but encourages them to look through his eyes. Pussninks has only three legs, though the angle of the illustration de-emphasizes this. Throughout, Pussninks shows his energy and cleverness. He greets the postman, steals the dog’s food, snatches Grandad’s fish from the table, etc. Illustrations accompany each rhyming stanza; additional short, nonrhyming sentences and illustrations add extra details to the scenes but break up the rhythm of the text. Briticisms (the fellow cat and mouse are “quite cross”; Pussninks is described as “no different to any other cat”) will introduce young Americans to new phrasings. Newly independent readers may struggle with challenging vocabulary words (“impressed,” “admiration”) in the shorter sentences, which interrupt the poetry rather than compliment it. Nacaytuna’s pencil illustrations of the cat are lovely, but the flat digital backgrounds give a jarring contrast to the soft-textured fur. Finally, the subtle representation of Pussninks’ difference, which doesn’t hold him back one whit, is a welcome message. A photograph is included of the real cat that Pussninks is based on.

Pussninks’ hijinks are enjoyable but undermined by the odd structure and strangely constructed illustrations.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5434-8921-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: XlibrisUK

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2018

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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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A killer thriller.


Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020


Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.


Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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