KAT'S SURRENDER

A novel that skillfully pits a teenager against nearly insurmountable sorrows following the death of her mother. Kat, 13, whose mother died of cancer, has withdrawn from the world. As she tries to ignore her old friends, she makes a new one in the General, an elderly man who feeds pigeons and lives in a fantasy. Kat finds she can’t avoid her old friends entirely; she still sees her best friend, Maggie, who believes that a next-door neighbor, Mrs. Twitchell, is a malevolent witch, a notion Kat accepts. Calamity strikes again when Maggie is injured in a hit-and-run accident; the General is the guilty driver. Kat loses her only remaining friend, Paul, when she tries to defend the General. Only a strict teacher, Sister Mildred, offers any sympathy, but it’s not until Kat falls off a ledge and into Mrs. Twitchell’s apartment does she learn that everyone has some tragedy, and that life can be good when it is faced with courage. Golding displays solid knowledge of adolescent girls, and her story has enough excitement and mystery to interest many of them. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56397-755-9

Page Count: 179

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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THE BIG BUCK ADVENTURE

This sprightly rhyming excursion into buying power puts lie to the notion that economics is by nature a dreary topic. When the first-person narrator is given a raise in allowance, visions of new purchases fill her head. As she shops the store’s candy, toy, deli, and pet departments, she is overwhelmed by the multiplicity of deals offered by eager merchants—ample opportunity to figure out the best deal mathematically. “A penny for your thoughts,” says one merchant as the girl opts for something really unusual—to spend not a cent, and to tuck her money into a bank at home, but only after a nicely turned pitch of her own: “Why you can have one hundred/of my thoughts for a dollar!/Ten thoughts for a dime,/five for a nickel/twenty-five thoughts/for a sour dill pickle.” If the value of money is in its possibilities, rather than its purchases, readers, too, will be relieved when the girl leaves the store. Lin’s illustrations make the mayhem memorable in an easy book to pair with Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Math Curse (1995). (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-294-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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BONNIE'S BLUE HOUSE

This color-concept book from newcomer Asbury has much going for it. The spare text (``I am Bonnie and this is my cat, Bluebonnet'') and the two-color illustrations (black and blue on a bed of white) are simple, direct, and oddly comforting. Bonnie recounts a day in her life: She introduces readers to her home, cavorts with her pals in a tree fort and swimming pool, sups, watches TV, reads her dad a bedtime story. For the most part, Asbury has chosen the vehicles for his color with a nod toward familiarity—blue water, blueberry pie, blue eyes (small, ghoulish buttons)—and sometimes with real invention: the flicker of the cathode ray, the glow of moonlight. The blue tree, on the other hand, is discordant. Two companion volumes, Rusty's Red Vacation (ISBN 0-8050-4021-8) and Yolanda's Yellow School (- 4023-4), take Asbury's color message aptly into those realms. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-4022-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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