REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES

One of Peck's more serious young novels, this is the story of three friends—four, if you count Kate's tart great-grandmother Polly, who completes their daily gathering for cards and conversation. It is told by Buck, the most placid among them, and focuses on what culminates in the suicide of Trav, the most troubled. Of the three young people, classmates at Slocum Township Junior High, the determined Kate, a natural leader and do-er, is "a hardcore Slo" (a rural local), Tray a well-off but alienated "Sub" (one of the IBM kids, punks, and preppies who inhabit the new subdivisions), and Buck a different sort of newcomer who lives in a trailer with his divorced hard-hat father and doesn't know where he belongs, but doesn't seem to worry. Trav, on the other hand, is always worried: about Soviet strategy in Latin America, about SATs two years early, about growing up in general. Unaccountably, on the night Kate is starring in the school play, Tray lands in the police station, caught shoplifting little kids' toys. Shipped off to an uncle's farm, he returns oddly calm, then hangs himself. Looking back, his shaken friends can see it coming, but can't explain it. Neither, it seems, can Peck, which makes the story seem oddly unresolved. Still, that's certainly preferable to a facile psychological case history; and the whole account has an air of firmly planted, strongly felt reality.

Pub Date: April 5, 1985

ISBN: 0440973392

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1985

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A fantastic, heartbreaking crescendo that echoes beyond the final page.

WILLA OF DARK HOLLOW

From the Willa of the Wood series , Vol. 2

A young Faeran girl puts everything on the line to save her home and the family she loves.

Emerging from the charred ruins of the Faeran forest lair, 13-year-old green-skinned, brown-haired Willa has formed a new family with humans who care about the Great Smoky Mountain as much as she does. Unfortunately, the Sutton Lumber Company has plans to clear the forest for railroad tracks. Her White adoptive father, Nathaniel, has become a leading voice against the destruction, making him a target. After he is arrested on suspicion of murdering loggers, Willa asks for help from her Faeran clan, but they blame her for the death of their leader and subsequent loss of their old home. Even the forest itself has grown hostile as strange, deathly cold creatures attack. Adelaide, a new blond, blue-eyed friend, and Hialeah, Nathaniel’s White and Cherokee daughter, join Willa in protecting the forest, clearing Nathaniel’s name, saving the Faeran, and unraveling the mystery of the malicious beasts. This duology closer is a captivating, stirring tale of family, friendship, the environment, and our place in the world. At every turn, Willa is faced with higher stakes and decisions that are even harder to make; the consequences of each choice weigh on her heart. The gorgeous prose and imagery of the mountains will inspire in readers a deep admiration for nature and support for Willa’s fight.

A fantastic, heartbreaking crescendo that echoes beyond the final page. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-00760-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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