BLOSSOM CULP AND THE SLEEP OF DEATH

From the Blossom Culp series , Vol. 4

Fans of the unflappable Blossom Culp and Alexander Armsworth, her unwitting companion in the occult, will welcome this fourth book about Blossom with open arms. The impoverished Blossom, a freshman in Bluff City High School's Class of 1918, and still an outcast (her mother, a gypsy fortuneteller, spends her nights roaming through Bluff City, stealing junk to resell as "antiques") is pleasantly surprised by her new history teacher. Augusta Fairweather is young, outspoken, and a supporter of the suffragette cause; she immerses her students in an unorthodox (for 1914) study of ancient Egypt. Blossom is fascinated, and no sooner has she delved into the mysteries of pyramids, tombs, and mummies than she is visited by the "spiritual self' of Princess Sat-Hathor, who has been buried (but not quite dead) for about 3800 years. The princess gives Blossom the task of recovering and returning to her Egyptian tomb "everything beautiful and necessary" that had been taken by thieves 50 years earlier. The deed seems nearly impossible, but Blossom enlists Alexander's begrudging help, and with the force of their combined powers and a lot of luck, Blossom manages not only to satisfy the demanding princess, but to give her nemesis, Letty Shambagh, her comeuppance. This story provides an engaging glimpse into the simpler, yet somehow not so different life-style of 70 years ago, while poking fun at the social structure of a small town. Blossom remains a memorable, indomitable character. If readers can overlook several unbelievable coincidences that help her accomplish her task, they'll enjoy this offbeat, spirited tale of a resourceful girl facing a challenge with courage and humor.

Pub Date: March 7, 1986

ISBN: 0440901251

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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