Not for every child, and, indeed, not for every adult. It’s not exactly as if Dostoyevsky had turned to writing Mother Goose...

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CATHERINE CERTITUDE

A beguiling children’s story—well, after a fashion, anyway—by the latest winner of the Nobel Prize in literature (Suspended Sentences, 2014, etc.).

Catherine Certitude—the French rings with the rounded “u,” bespeaking confidence and joie de vivre—is a 40-something grown-up as the story opens, the owner of a dance studio in New York who, in a moment of daydreaming wistfulness, looks back on her odd life. “We’re nobody special,” she says, “just New Yorkers, like so many others.” Very well: but why did the erstwhile resident of the 10th Arrondissement leave the comforting shadow of the Gare du Nord for Greenwich Village? Chalk that up to Papa, master of the carefully weighed shipment and the carefully measured advantage. What was it that Papa did in that big warehouse with the never forthcoming Mister Casterade, “The Pill,” as Papa called him? Papa owes Casterade, we learn, who reminds him, loudly, “Georges, you should remember that your real friends are the ones who save you from the clutches of the law.” The implication is that Papa, who says only that he is in “the package business,” is doing something he ought not to be doing, which might explain the family’s hasty departure. But, as ever with a Modiano story, other, darker possibilities always lurk at the edges of the story. The superficiality of Catherine’s understanding is hinted at by the great illustrator Sempé’s drawings, which have a carefree, untroubled quality even in those moments when they admit shadows. Whatever the case, Modiano, an heir of existentialism who lacks the pessimism of his forerunners, serves up something of a happy ending even as the mystery comes to embrace Catherine’s cloistered world of dance. At least, on leaving the story, we’re treated to the happy vision of Papa cutting another deal that’s shady enough to make Mama want to split....

Not for every child, and, indeed, not for every adult. It’s not exactly as if Dostoyevsky had turned to writing Mother Goose rhymes, but the darkness is there—and so is the brilliance.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 978-0-87923-959-6

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2016

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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

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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

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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

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