Fully faithful to the voice Danziger gave Amber Brown, this visit with an old friend will totally satisfy readers.

READ REVIEW

AMBER BROWN IS TICKLED PINK

Amber Brown fans will rejoice; against all odds, their favorite protagonist is back.

After Paula Danziger passed away in 2004, it looked like readers would never find out how things would work out for Amber as her mother faced remarriage and a move to a new house. Through the efforts of two of Danziger's author friends, Amber has returned, with her funny, often slightly ironic, first-person voice that perfectly captures the tribulations and triumphs of the middle-grade years. Assigned to create a personal budget for a million dollars, she sets aside $25,000 to provide for "anti-nose-picking therapy for Fredrich Allen," a classmate. He becomes less easy to mock when she gets to know him better, since it turns out her mother and fiancé Max are going to get married at the Allens' summer camp to save money, a plan Amber dreamed up. What's harder for Amber is trying to find comfortable middle ground between her father and her mother's wedding plans. She's trying not to take sides but sometimes finds herself caught between them, even in their mostly amicable split, a problem she good-naturedly deals with, setting a fine example for kids in the same position. Simple, often humorous illustrations completely capture the gentle spirit of the tale.

Fully faithful to the voice Danziger gave Amber Brown, this visit with an old friend will totally satisfy readers. (afterword by Danziger's niece, "the real Amber Brown") (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25656-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of...

HONEY

Melody Bishop's peaceful life with her widower father is upset when the annoying 6-year-old next door comes home from the beauty parlor with some gossip.

The 10-year-old has already noticed her father's increased distraction and a new tendency to whistle, so when Teeny Nelson reports that "Henry's been bitten by the love bug," Melody is avid to know more. With her best friend, biracial Nick Woo, at her side, she goes to the Bee Hive beauty salon to investigate. What she discovers there rocks her world not once but twice, as salon owner Bee-Bee has information about Melody's mother, who died in childbirth and about whom her father never speaks. Weeks gets the small moments right: Melody's exasperation with Teeny and the way it turns to sympathy when the little girl's mother threatens a spanking; her affectionate resignation when her grandfather, who has emphysema, sneaks out to the garage for a smoke. And Melody's close relationship with her loving father is sweetly evoked. But other elements fail to cohere. Obvious misdirection leads Melody to a critical misunderstanding that never amounts to more than a plot contrivance, and the mystical visions of Bee-Bee's dog, Mo, who has an unknown connection to Melody, strain credulity.

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of nail-polish colors is somewhat amusing. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-46557-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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