In the early days of the Revolutionary War, Sara Bishop's Tory father is killed and their farmhouse burned by hoodlum Patriot Boys. Her brother, in the Patriot Army, dies a prisoner on the British ship Scorpion. Sara, 15, is arrested by the British, wrongly accused of setting the Trinity Church fire that breaks out when she is tracking down her brother in New York. She escapes, takes brief jobs in inn kitchens to stake her supplies, and then—still fleeing the British and desirous of solitude—sets up housekeeping in a "wilderness area" cave. At this point Sara has rejected the Bible that seems to have failed her, and is as determined to reject human help and company. A musket is her constant companion, and a white bat her pet. She has used the musket's threat to escape Sam Goshen, a man who gave her a wagon lift, then tried to rape her; and she uses it again when an Indian appears and claims that the cave area land is "mine." (In a reversal of the usual scene, Sara tries to explain that she doesn't claim the land but doesn't intend to move.) Later Sam Goshen turns up near her cave, caught in his own poisoned bear trap, and she reluctantly saves him, taking him into the cave until he is well enough to be shut out. Alone, she suffers from a poisonous snake bite and spends days on the edge of life. But a nice young Indian couple come by too, and help her to smoke fish and make a dugout canoe. Later, a young Quaker from whom she buys supplies takes an interest in her and invites her to Meeting. Her appearance in town lands her in prison again, this time for witchcraft; but the Quaker's reasoned persuasion saves her from trial and certain condemnation. In the end, Sara is back in her cave but has established the tentative contact that promises to win her back to society. O'Dell's affectless short sentences well suit Sara's numbed responses; however, without any heightening or variation, they make the story seem, after a while, to be taking Sara in and out of one dager after another. (There are so many.) It is, though, her own resourcefulness that gets her out each time; there is some small, undramatic progression in her withdrawal and incipient healing; and the adventure, historical background, survival mechanics, and inner condition are well integrated.

Pub Date: April 23, 1980

ISBN: 0395618754

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.


A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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