BLACKWELL’S ISLAND

It’s 1914 and Alex, 11 and a fairly recent immigrant from Russia, is left alone to take care of himself and his younger sister when their widowed mother disappears. Set in the tenements of New York City and on the infamous Blackwell’s Island, this might have been a fascinating historical fiction or, as an adventure, it could have been a thrilling tale. Unfortunately, it is neither, falling instead into the Goosebumps style of manipulated excitement. Alex is kidnapped with several other young people and sent to one of the Island’s harsh workhouses. The place is a hell, ruled by a criminal with political pull and his sadistic cronies. Alex and some of his new companions overturn the reign of evil, his sister rescues his mother, a murderer must face the music of the courts and all ends happily. With endless cliffhangers, a mystery key, outlandish coincidences, the possibility of ghosts and other menacing creatures and über kids to the rescue, this simply never jells, and a terrific idea for a setting is wasted. (Fiction. 10-11)

Pub Date: April 12, 2005

ISBN: 0-385-74670-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more