Featuring innocent content written with flair, this book fills a gap.

PONY ON THE TWELFTH FLOOR

A horse-crazy city girl has her wish fulfilled when she finds a stray pony at the grocery store.

Kizzy has always wanted a pony, but living in an apartment building on a limited budget hasn’t allowed for so much as riding lessons. So when she and her best friend, Pawel, discover a pony munching on the pastries, Kizzy thinks quickly, claiming the pony and taking it home. She manages to get “Donut” up to her apartment and into her bedroom without anyone noticing—even overnight. But getting her new pony in and out of the building daily, finding the money to buy food for the constant eater, cleaning up his poop, and keeping him out of trouble all challenge her ambition to keep him. With a little help from some old and new friends, Kizzy keeps the pony longer than she logically should, but when she finally finds its rightful owner, it’s not the devastating farewell she had feared. The book’s premise is one many children will enjoy, and though the story feels overlong—rather like Donut’s sojourn with Kizzy—Faber writes in a way that respects young readers’ intelligence, making this a chapter-book/middle-grade hybrid ideal for young, advanced readers. Full- and half-page black-and-white illustrations show that Kizzy and her family are black; her friend Pawel’s family is Polish.

Featuring innocent content written with flair, this book fills a gap. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0930-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

WISHTREE

Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all.

Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar’s longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar’s family’s presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant story with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students.

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-04322-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more