HORRIBLE HARRY AND THE MUD GREMLINS

Harry and his friends in 3B are back in the 14th installment of Kline’s lively Horrible Harry series. In this one, Harry is having friendship problems with Sidney La Fleur, a classmate who bugs Harry every day. The newest episode happens when Harry wears a necklace to school and Sid tries to get the other kids to tease him about wearing jewelry like a girl. Turns out, the necklace is a magnifying glass and Harry promises to show his friends something he has discovered with it: a kingdom of mushrooms. The catch is that the friends have to swear to secrecy because the kingdom, filled with stinkhorn mushrooms, is located off school property and is off-limits to them during recess. After some soul-searching, the kids decide to break the rule. When their teacher asks where the mud has come from following recess, Harry sneaks in a little fib: mud gremlins must have traipsed in the offending dirt. Sneaking off a few yards from the playground is one thing; lying to Miss Mackle is another. The children face the dilemma of telling the truth and getting in trouble, and they do the right thing in the end. Kline’s gift is her ability to take the run-of-the-mill incidents in a young child’s life and make them taut and believable, just as nerve-wracking as they are to real children. Another winner for the just-ready-for-chapter-books crowd. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-670-03617-X

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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