A delightfully fun summer vacation book for young readers.

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In this fast-moving middle-grade novel, a tomboy spends her summer working for a witchy woman, searching for treasure in an old house and trying to track down her missing bicycle, all while making new friends and learning valuable lessons.

Eleven-year-old Pam lives in the seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey, in her parents’ restored Victorian inn. Never one to sit still or stay indoors, she prefers bikes and the beach to books, and she’s less than enthusiastic about the company of other girls. As the summer begins, Pam is excited to start working at a boardwalk chocolate shop and to use her earnings to replace her stolen green bicycle. Unfortunately, the nasty old woman who works in the shop won’t stop berating Pam for everything she does, making her miserable; seeing her stolen bike being boldly ridden around town by a strange girl doesn’t help matters. Pam ends up finding fun in the most unlikely of places: the sprawling mansion next door, where a sweet but slightly batty old lady insists her mother once hid treasure. However, the house was long ago split in two and moved; no one knows where the other half is, let alone which half might contain the treasure or what the treasure could be. Pam teams up with friendly new girl Maddy and Maddy’s uptight best friend, Zara, to unravel the mystery; she rides a four-person bicycle, explores a garage’s junkyard and even reads a book or two. The sunny Cape May setting—a perfect backdrop for this quick, summery read—will have readers counting the days until they too can escape to the beach. In Pam, debut author McCauley has created a bright young heroine who’s energetic, impulsive and occasionally annoying—in other words, typical and relatable for young readers. Pam naturally makes mistakes, but she learns from them, too; important lessons, such as why you shouldn’t rush to judge someone, help make this story more substantial than most adventures.

A delightfully fun summer vacation book for young readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4327-7412-7

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality.


A testament to the power of an imaginative mind.

A compulsively creative, unnamed, brown-skinned little girl with purple hair wonders what she would do if the pencil she uses “to create…stories that come from my heart” disappeared. Turns out, it wouldn’t matter. Art can take many forms. She can fold paper (origami), carve wood, tear wallpaper to create texture designs, and draw in the dirt. She can even craft art with light and darkness or singing and dancing. At the story’s climax, her unencumbered imagination explodes beyond the page into a foldout spread, enabling readers both literally and figuratively to see into her fantasy life. While readers will find much to love in the exuberant rhyming verse, attending closely to the illustrations brings its own rewards given the fascinating combinations of mixed media Curato employs. For instance, an impressively colorful dragon is made up of different leaves that have been photographed in every color phase from green to deep red, including the dragon’s breath (made from the brilliant orange leaves of a Japanese maple) and its nose and scales (created by the fan-shaped, butter-colored leaves of a gingko). Sugar cubes, flower petals, sand, paper bags, marbles, sequins, and lots more add to and compose these brilliant, fantasy-sparking illustrations.

This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39096-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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