A redoubtable protagonist in a good storyline that doesn’t quite deliver.

READ REVIEW

ON THESE MAGIC SHORES

When Mamá fails to return home after her evening job, it is up to 12-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda to take care of her younger sisters and hold the family together.

The family lives in a moldy basement apartment, and Mamá works two jobs and dresses the girls in hand-me-downs. In spite of the obstacles, Minerva has her life all figured out. The Argentine American seventh grader will be “the first Latina president of the United States.” And the first step to that goal is to get the lead role in Peter Pan, the school play. But nothing is working out. First, and most importantly, Mamá has gone missing. Then, brown-skinned Minerva gets the role of Tiger Lily, a character with only one line—“how”—and one that Minerva finds offensive to Native Americans, prompting her to take action. As the book progresses, Méndez tackles problems of racism, discrimination, income inequality, immigration, and ethnic and cultural stereotypes. All are real, true, and valid points, but they are laid out with such a heavy hand as to grow preachy, causing the book’s balance to tip from story to lesson. Mamá’s absence works well as a device to allow Minerva to come to the fore, but her reappearance and the explanation for her disappearance feel contrived. Nevertheless, there is still much to like, and readers will find a strong and resilient character they can root for in this story.

A redoubtable protagonist in a good storyline that doesn’t quite deliver. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64379-031-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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The potential strength of this presentation would be as a read-aloud to grade-schoolers, who would, no doubt, enjoy the...

SIR SETH THISTLETHWAITE AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CAVES

From the Sir Seth Thistlethwaite series , Vol. 2

Two imaginative 10-year-old boys embark on a disbelief-suspending adventure in this second of a series.

Sir Seth, Sir Ollie and Seth’s “steed,” Shasta (his dog in a realer world), discover Puddlewater Pond is draining down into a netherworld, the Queendom of Claire, populated by short Khaboumians, the evil ogre Ooz, his tree-eating dinosaur and some almost-flying umbies. These creatures are coming into conflict, creating confusion, consternation and complete chaos.  Most of the narrative consists of frequent alliteration, puns and embedded rhyming words that don’t scan into poetry. “Sir Ollie stuttered with surprise, his eyes the size of banana cream pies,” for example. A certain amount of this is amusing; after several pages, it simply becomes unbecomingly uneven, creating a nearly noxious narrative. Some of the concepts are strangely Seuss-like: The Umbies travel in pairs, under-umbies under over-umbies that use their apparently otherwise useless wings to provide shade for their under-umbies. Chuggamugga bugs, like mugs with legs, carry water for wayward desert wanderers. While the pace of the plot careens, its superficiality is strangely startling. Cartoonish black-and-white illustrations add an amusing aura to a plethora of pages.

The potential strength of this presentation would be as a read-aloud to grade-schoolers, who would, no doubt, enjoy the difficulties the adult reader would encounter, wading through all the wacky words. (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-926818-94-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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