Pale mist wafts mysteriously through the pages of this saga of a young boy’s quest to appease the spirits of a ghostly captain and his crew. When a boy sees the Southern Belle crash, he recalls the law of the sea—that the nearest vessel must help a ship in trouble. When no ship, not even his father’s, goes to help, the seas seem haunted for a year by the captain and crew of the Southern Belle; one ship after another goes down. The boy, open-minded about superstitions, convinces his more practical father to allow him help the ghosts of the Southern Belle to their rest. Scenes overlaid with an appearance of fog and dripping with moisture give a tactile feel to a classic tale of a racing boat beaten not by another ship but by a storm at sea. Save this for a rainy afternoon story hour when the lightning flashes and thunder rolls. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-02608-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999




Lunge-Larsen and Preus debut with this story of a flower that blooms for the first time to commemorate the uncommon courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl, an Ojibwe of the northern woodlands, knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mash-ki- ki, for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep. When she loses her moccasins in the deep snow, her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring beautiful lady slippers bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched. Drawing on Ojibwe sources, the authors of this fluid retelling have peppered the tale with native words and have used traditional elements, e.g., giving voice to the forces of nature. The accompanying watercolors, with flowing lines, jewel tones, and decorative motifs, give stately credence to the story’s iconic aspects. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90512-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999



In his quest for easy moolah, Owen learns that the road to financial solvency can be rocky and fraught with work. Greene (Owen Foote, Soccer Star, 1998, etc.) touches upon the often-thorny issue of chores and allowances: Owen’s mom wants him to help out because he’s part of the family and not just for the money—while Owen wants the money without having to do tedious household chores. This universal dilemma leaves Owen without funds and eagerly searching for ways to make a quick buck. His madcap schemes range from original—a “free” toilet demonstration that costs 50 cents—to disastrous, as during the trial run of his children’s fishing video, Owen ends up hooking his ear instead of a trout. Enlisting the aid of his stalwart, if long-suffering, friend Joseph, the two form a dog-walking club that becomes vastly restricted in clientele after Owen has a close encounter with an incontinent, octogenarian canine. Ultimately, Owen learns a valuable lesson about work and money when an unselfish action is generously rewarded. These sudden riches motivate Owen to consider wiser investments for his money than plastic vomit. Greene’s crisp writing style and wry humor is on-target for young readers. Brief chapters revolving around a significant event or action and fast pacing are an effective draw for tentative readers. Weston’s (Space Guys!, p. 392, etc.) black-and-white illustrations, ranging in size from quarter- to full-page, deftly portray Owen’s humorous escapades. A wise, witty addition to Greene’s successful series. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-02369-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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