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

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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

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

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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

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The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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