A riveting tale of family ties, friendship and community loyalty.

UNTRACEABLE

THE NATURE OF GRACE—BOOK 1

Gutsy teen Grace, who is much more at home fly fishing, hiking and tracking bears through the woods than hanging out at the mall or chasing boys, has a mission—to prove that her father is still alive.

Grace’s father—forest ranger and wilderness survival expert—has taught his daughter everything she needs to know to trek through the Smoky Mountains, searching for clues to his sudden disappearance. After the police find his torn, blood-stained shirt in a local river, they, along with Grace’s mother, assume he has been killed in a tragic accident. Despite being snubbed by the local police chief, running up against the wrath of the chief of the town’s Native American reservation and alienating herself from her distraught mother, Grace is determined to prove them all wrong. The spunky sleuth goes all out to find her dad, determined not to be put off by her longtime friend and admirer Wyn or distracted by the amorous attentions of the intriguing British stranger Mo. When she inadvertently stumbles upon a dark, dangerous secret, it challenges everything Grace thought she knew about her sleepy hometown and its inhabitants. This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The author has achieved a stunning, high-tension tale that takes the reader on a journey over rough terrain as it follows a young girl’s quest to find the truth and protect the sanctity of a national park and the animals that owe their survival to it. These unique, lively characters will rouse a gamut of emotions in young adult readers. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page and then leaving an intriguing teaser in anticipation of the sequel.

A riveting tale of family ties, friendship and community loyalty.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Coleman & Stott

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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