BLUISH

A child coming off chemotherapy wins new friends and acceptance from her class in this short, upbeat tale from Hamilton (Second Cousins, 1998, etc.). At first, Dreenie doesn’t know what to make of the girl, Natalie, who is in a wheelchair and knit cap, and who is called “Bluish” by the fifth graders not because she’s black and Jewish (as Natalie’s mother assumes), but because her skin is translucent. New herself, Dreenie quickly finds the right mix of distance and intimacy to be comfortable around her moody, fragile classmate, and soon others are gathering, too—especially after Natalie presents everyone with a wool cap like hers. Hamilton tells the tale from Dreenie’s point of view, moving back and forth between first and third person, sketching feelings and reactions in quick, vivid strokes: “[Bluish] made me care about what was all so scary, so sad and so hurt with her too. To me she is just Bluish child, Bluish ill serious. Bluish close with us. Someday Bluish just like us./Maybe.” While Natalie’s future remains clouded, the story’s tone is set by the pains, and the pleasures, of the moment: exchanging gifts, banter, friendship, and respect. The three children in Leo and Diane Dillons’ jacket painting are misleadingly grave, but the designs in their knit caps and scarves evoke the author’s poetic, richly textured prose. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-28879-2

Page Count: 127

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT

A sentimental tale overwhelmed by busy illustrations and rampant pedantry. A gifted quiltmaker who makes outstanding quilts never sells her wares, but gives them away to the poor. A greedy king so loves presents that he has two birthdays a year, and commands everyone in the kingdom to give him gifts. Everyone brings presents till the castle overflows; the king, still unhappy, locates the quiltmaker and directs her to make him a quilt. When she refuses he tries to feed her to a hungry bear, then to leave her on a tiny island, but each time the quiltmaker’s kindness results in her rescue. At last, the king agrees to a bargain; he will give away his many things, and the quiltmaker will sew him a quilt. He is soon poor, but happier than he’s ever been, and she fulfills her end of the bargain; they remain partners forever after, with her sewing the quilts and him giving them away. The illustrations are elaborate, filled with clues to quilt names. A note points to the 250 different quilt names hidden in the picture on the inside of the book jacket. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-57025-199-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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