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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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.


A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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