A FABULOUS CREATURE

The delightful uncertainties and personalities of Snyder at her best are missing from this slightly older story, which could be said to deal with the temptations of the flesh. The central character is almost-16-year-old James Fielding, who is spending a summer with his mother and professor father in a "wilderness" cabin near a ridiculous (and ridiculously expensive) summer community that is modeled after an Army base and called "The Camp." Exploring about, James discovers a majestic stag in a hidden valley; but he is soon distracted from his daily contemplation of the animal by another fabulous creature: sexy, bikini-clad Diane Jarrett—a Camp resident whose home is full of hunting trophies and who treats James, with a tantalizing alternation of inviting and evasive behavior, as another form of prey. James does share the deer with another, younger, Camp inmate, Griffin, a loner and nature-lover who reads widely, performs ritual ceremonies on the rocks, and clams up at the mention of her rich, runabout, gin-fizz-for-breakfast mother. Griffin swears to keep the deer a secret from the hunting Jarretts; but James, when Diane turns her attention to an older boy, half-helplessly offers her a look at the deer as a way to get her back. Of course, Diane wants that magnificent rack for a trophy—her father, seeing a photo, exults that it "would break every existing record"—and the Jarretts plan a return trip in hunting season. When the time comes, Griffin runs away from home; and James, reading about her disappearance, guesses her mission and joins her at the Camp for a confrontation with the Jarretts. The non-serious accident that ultimately saves the deer has been carefully prepared from the start, but when it comes it seems too neatly contrived. Snyder's picture of the dreadful rich and their crazy compound might be worth the reading, but otherwise the story lacks snap. Predictable Griffin is not one of Snyder's intriguing young-girl characters—partly no doubt because readers are directed to sympathize from the start. Diane, also transparent from the start, is a stereotypical explorative flirt without style or subtlety; and when the first three-fourths of the book seems dominated by her yes-and-no manipulation of James, she becomes plain boring.

Pub Date: March 16, 1981

ISBN: 0440401798

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1981

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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