As droll as a Britcom and as true to the spirit of family life as the all-American Quimbys, this import introduces the Quigleys: siblings Lucy and Will and their slightly feckless but loving parents. Each of four episodic chapters focuses on one family member. In one, Dad accepts a babysitting assignment from neighbors even though it conflicts with his desire to watch a thrilling football game on television, and as a consequence he loses one of his charges. In another, Lucy insists that she will wear a bee costume instead of a bridesmaid’s dress in a wedding. “All the Quigleys could be a little stubborn,” but her parents have no idea just how stubborn Lucy can be. In the third, Mum’s birthday is ruined when Dad’s train is delayed and she must miss the ballet. The children manage to salvage the occasion by making her a party involving a ballet of their own creation, toast with chocolate spread, a variety of alcoholic beverages found in the back of the cupboard, and finally a madcap entrance by Dad with roses between his teeth. This chapter, while it may not find its way into school reading anthologies, is laugh-out-loud funny. The concluding chapter describes Will’s campaign to receive a Harpy Eagle for Christmas despite the family’s “no pets” rule. This includes the dropping of pointed hints, “ . . . a way to get what you want without bother,” which proves to be very hard work. The deadpan humor is applied to small but universal dramas of everyday family life, which are reinforced by a pattern of sly repetitions that develop the characters and situations to comic effect. Read either aloud or independently, this is a family story to be shared, the characters not soon forgotten. Plentiful line drawings extend the fun. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 14, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-75006-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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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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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.


From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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