An accessible and memorable account for young readers of one man’s humanity during the Holocaust.

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FRANCESCO TIRELLI'S ICE CREAM SHOP

A gelato shop in Hungary becomes a hideout for Jews during World War II.

Francesco, a young Italian boy, falls in love with ice cream in every flavor. When he moves to Hungary, to the city of Budapest, there is none to be found as tasty as what he loved as a child, so he opens Francesco’s Gelato. No Hungarian culinary specialties are on this menu. One day he encounters a young boy named Peter who shares his passion. After some years pass, the German war against Jews comes to Hungary, and Peter and his family are in danger. Francesco, who has closed his shop, now uses it to hide them and some other Jews. And in the midst of the darkness, Peter finds a special way to celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights. The author’s note informs readers that, years later, Peter (known as Yitzchak in Israel) petitioned Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, to honor Francesco as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. It is Peter’s daughter-in-law who has written this simple but moving tale of quiet heroism. The delicately rendered illustrations vary from the sunny vistas of Italy to the darkness of the hideout. Faces are expressive, and the scene with hidden families around the hanukkiah (originally molds for chocolate) is especially moving.

An accessible and memorable account for young readers of one man’s humanity during the Holocaust. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3465-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of...

HONEY

Melody Bishop's peaceful life with her widower father is upset when the annoying 6-year-old next door comes home from the beauty parlor with some gossip.

The 10-year-old has already noticed her father's increased distraction and a new tendency to whistle, so when Teeny Nelson reports that "Henry's been bitten by the love bug," Melody is avid to know more. With her best friend, biracial Nick Woo, at her side, she goes to the Bee Hive beauty salon to investigate. What she discovers there rocks her world not once but twice, as salon owner Bee-Bee has information about Melody's mother, who died in childbirth and about whom her father never speaks. Weeks gets the small moments right: Melody's exasperation with Teeny and the way it turns to sympathy when the little girl's mother threatens a spanking; her affectionate resignation when her grandfather, who has emphysema, sneaks out to the garage for a smoke. And Melody's close relationship with her loving father is sweetly evoked. But other elements fail to cohere. Obvious misdirection leads Melody to a critical misunderstanding that never amounts to more than a plot contrivance, and the mystical visions of Bee-Bee's dog, Mo, who has an unknown connection to Melody, strain credulity.

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of nail-polish colors is somewhat amusing. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-46557-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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This quietly emotional tale is an ultimately triumphant one

THE DOG WHO LOST HIS BARK

A boy and a puppy overcome difficult times in this illustrated chapter book.

Beginning the tale from the puppy’s point of view, Colfer employs simple language evoking an innocent sensibility, with many words in all-caps reflecting puppyish enthusiasm. The puppy’s early days with his mother and siblings are followed by a heart-wrenching stint with the abusive couple who brings the puppy home as a present for their cruel boy. After the puppy is abandoned at the dump, Colfer switches the point of view to Patrick, a human boy, who is driving with his mother to his grandad’s house to spend the summer. Asking when his touring-musician father will arrive, Patrick is dumbfounded when his mother, instead of answering the question, asks him if he would like to have a dog. Evading the issue of his father’s allergies, Patrick’s grandfather brings him to the shelter, where he picks out (readers will be so relieved) the abandoned puppy and names him Oz. Oz, however, is so traumatized he stays in his crate until, by accident, Patrick’s grandfather discovers that Oz enjoys music. Patrick digs out his violin and plays for him, eventually gaining his trust. Just as all seems well, Patrick learns that his father is leaving his mother—and now it is Oz’s turn to rescue Patrick. Lynch’s realistic pencil illustrations greatly amplify the story, their sensitively rendered human and dog expressions echoing the varying tones of the text. Humans are depicted as white.

This quietly emotional tale is an ultimately triumphant one . (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0442-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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