BRAVO, MAX!

Continuing the exchange of notes and postcards begun in Dear Max (2006), renowned children’s author D.J. Lucas and her greatest fan, young Max, provide mutual support in the course of another busy year. For her, it’s one of writing and promotional traveling and for him, one of struggling with a trollish babysitter and a firming relationship between his widowed mother and a new friend. It’s an exciting time for Lucas, whose My Teacher’s a Nutcase is being made into a film (starring “Tom Trews” and “Jennifer Aniseed”) even as she’s trying her hand at creating a higher-toned novel. Meanwhile, Max deals with his unhappiness partly by concealing it from his mother, and partly by composing a play in which his sitter is an ogre and Mom’s bearded, deceptively friendly caller is dubbed Fungus Face. Including playwriting tips and brief passages of dialogue along with savvy advice and loyal expressions of encouragement, the epistolary back-and-forth, liberally strewn with Max’s line drawings, creates two equally engaging storylines—and may get the creative juices flowing in some young readers, too. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 27, 2007

ISBN: 1-4169-0393-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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