BLOOMABILITY

Creech (Chasing Redbird, 1997, etc.) plies the threads of love and loss, separation and belonging, into another deeply felt novel; while it is no sin for a writer to repeatedly explore such themes, a certain sameness is descending upon her books. Dinnie Santolina, 13, loves her family, even though her father is always in search of the next irresistible opportunity and her mother is happy to follow him. But when brother Crick finally gets into enough trouble to go to jail and sister Stella comes home at 16 both married and pregnant, Dinnie finds herself quite suddenly in Switzerland, where Uncle Max is the new headmaster at an international American school. Dinnie has had a lot of experience being the stranger, but here, with her warm and charming aunt and uncle, and among students of many nationalities, she explores the meaning of home through her dreams, the mountains, forests, and towns near Lake Lugano, and a curriculum where her classmates decide that thinking really is homework. She becomes friends with Lila, whose erratic behavior mirrors even more erratic parents, Keisuke, whose fractured English paints word-pictures (“bloomable” for possible), his Spanish girlfriend Belen, and the irrepressible Guthrie, who delights in all things. Metaphors mixed in several languages, dream images of snow and distance, and the bittersweet terrors of adolescence will keep readers turning the pages and regretful to reach the last one. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-026993-6

Page Count: 273

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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  • Newbery Honor Book

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE

A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice. India Opal’s mama left when she was only three, and her father, “the preacher,” is absorbed in his own loss and in the work of his new ministry at the Open-Arms Baptist Church of Naomi [Florida]. Enter Winn-Dixie, a dog who “looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain.” But, this dog had a grin “so big that it made him sneeze.” And, as Opal says, “It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.” Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets Miss Franny Block, an elderly lady whose papa built her a library of her own when she was just a little girl and she’s been the librarian ever since. Then, there’s nearly blind Gloria Dump, who hangs the empty bottle wreckage of her past from the mistake tree in her back yard. And, Otis, oh yes, Otis, whose music charms the gerbils, rabbits, snakes and lizards he’s let out of their cages in the pet store. Brush strokes of magical realism elevate this beyond a simple story of friendship to a well-crafted tale of community and fellowship, of sweetness, sorrow and hope. And, it’s funny, too. A real gem. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0776-2

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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