MY TEETH

From a toothless tot in South Africa to a tooth-brushing child in Ireland, bright, baby-pleasing photographs of children and their teeth fill this multicultural parade of faces. Readers are prompted to count up from no teeth to ten in mouths mostly—but not exclusively—smiling. Oddly, with the exception of Turkey, Asian babies are not represented at all, though there are some South American children and two from New Zealand. The generally small size of the babies’ teeth makes the counting more a thematic rack to hang the pictures on than a truly functional conceptual exercise, but given the appeal of other babies’ faces to the readership, it’s hard to imagine this one going far wrong. (6-12 mos.)

Pub Date: May 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-58246-212-7

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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THE GRADUATION OF JAKE MOON

Jake Moon’s grandfather Skelly used to be the emotional fixer in Jake’s household, the one who soothed his hurts and helped him through hard times. But when Jake is in third grade, Skelly begins forgetting things and by the time Jake is ready to graduate from eighth grade Skelly’s Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point where he is barely aware of his surroundings. Jake learns from Skelly’s doctor that Alzheimer’s disease has three stages, “each . . . worse than the one before it,” which Jake thinks of as “(1) sad, (2) sadder, and (3) the saddest thing you’ve ever seen.” The book chronicles not only Skelly’s deterioration, but also the effect it has on Jake and his relationships with other family members and friends. As Skelly’s condition worsens, their roles reverse and Jake finds himself caring for the man who once cared for him. That, coupled with the fact that his grandfather has become a tremendous embarrassment—at a sleepover, Skelly shows up in Jake’s room without any pants or underpants, for example—causes Jake to disengage from friends and extracurricular activities. Park’s convincing first-person narration rings true, and she is particularly adept at rendering Jake’s complex emotional journey, which encompasses love, confusion, sadness, anger, embarrassment, shame, and finally acceptance. The book has some funny moments, but it’s one of Park’s darker, more poignant creations; readers expecting a Skinnybones–type laugh-a-thon will be sadly disappointed. Nonetheless, Park has produced a perceptive book that should prove useful to children who must navigate similar waters. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-83912-X

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2000

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A sports story that’s as heartwarming as it is action-packed.

BOUNCING BACK

A boy and his wheelchair-basketball team try to salvage their season in sportswriter Ostler’s debut novel.

A year after losing his parents and the use of his legs in a car accident, 12-year-old Carlos Cooper reluctantly joins a wheelchair-basketball team at the encouragement of his guardians, his Mexican American maternal aunt and uncle. Formerly dubbed “Cooper the Hooper,” Carlos struggles with wheelchair basketball’s difficult new techniques…and with no longer being the star shooter. But soon, Carlos catches the Rollin’ Rats’ cooperative, competitive spirit—just as the mayor closes their run-down gym, jeopardizing their chances of reaching California’s state championship. Basketball fans will particularly enjoy Carlos’ play-by-play narration of challenging practices and intense games, but readers won’t need sports knowledge to root for Carlos as he and fellow teammate Mia—and unexpected allies—scheme to outwit the villainous Mayor Burns. The author realistically portrays Carlos’ adjustment to disability and loss, and Carlos’ increasing empathy is believable and thought-provoking. Bantering text messages highlight the team’s camaraderie, and Carlos’ bond with his tenacious aunt and uncle adds tenderness, humor, and some (italicized) Spanish words. His teammates’ disabilities range from paraplegia to limb difference; one member has autism as well as spinal bifida. Latinx Carlos is bicultural and probably biracial (his mom was Mexican and his dad was British) and has brown skin, and one teammate is black. Mia, who is white, has two moms.

A sports story that’s as heartwarming as it is action-packed. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52474-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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