A promising series continues with a deft mix of suspense, relatable characters, and well-integrated educational...

FINN & BOTTS

DOUBLE TROUBLE AT THE MUSEUM

An overnight elementary school field trip to the local museum turns into a mystery-solving adventure in Knight’s (Finn & Botts: Curse of the Cornfield Ghost, 2019, etc.) second chapter book in a series.

Best friends Finn and Botts are caught up in another spooky mystery—this time, during a sleepover with their classmates in the Dinosaur Gallery at the Kealstal City Museum. Why are bones missing from the new dinosaur exhibit? Where does the trail of grayish, oddly sparkly dust lead? Who’s responsible for the secret tunnel in the museum that Finn and Botts discover, and who’s sneaking around in raptor costumes? Knight weaves a smattering of information about minerals and gems into this lively adventure as well as numerous dinosaur facts. Along the way, his colorful main characters and their supportive friend Tess tour the exhibits, eat pizza, and identify the dinosaurs on the museum director’s scavenger hunt list. Knight’s atmospheric descriptions of the exhibits at night and of behind-the-scenes locations (including a security office with a bank of video screens) will give readers an enjoyable sense of what it’s like to be in a museum after dark. In the humorous, full-page, grayscale illustrations that complement each chapter, artist Meyers (The Baltimore Bandit, 2019, etc.) again depicts the characters as pigs, albeit ones that are completely human in appearance and behavior. (There’s one visual head-scratcher, however: The caveman masks that Finn and Botts wear at one point have human, not porcine, features.) The mystery that the main characters stumble upon and solve comes to an eventful conclusion, and the book ends with a word puzzle for readers to complete themselves, with answers that they can find throughout the story.

A promising series continues with a deft mix of suspense, relatable characters, and well-integrated educational entertainment.

Pub Date: July 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73360-921-0

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Dreamwell Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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