Part melodrama, part family relationships, as another juvenile author addresses the problems of the children of the flower children. Summer McIntyre, a responsible tenth-grader, hates living on food stamps in a rundown trailer with her irresponsible hippy mother Oriole. She writes frequent unmailed letters to her father, a medical student who drifted through her mother's life the summer before Summer was born, and she is especially concerned about her little half-sister Sparrow, who seems to share their mother's easygoing nature. Now Sparrow's little friend Marina Fisher has been sent away for her asthma, though Sparrow insists that she is still around; the sisters have been barred from the farm of their neighbors, the Fishers; and Oriole has taken up with Angelo, a sinister stranger who's turned up at the Fisher farm—and who shoots the McIntyre dog later on. Gradually Summer learns that the Fishers are growing pot on their farm and that Angelo, a big-time crook and dealer, is holding little Marina hostage there to keep the family in line. By the time Oriole is arrested with the others in a raid on the farm, Summer has already arranged for her and Sparrow to move to Connecticut with a wealthy couple Summer has been doing housework for. But Summer has also been working for another couple, her sympathetic English teacher and his wife, and they help her to see that sending Sparrow may be beneficial but Summer's own loyalties and welfare are at home. There's also a budding romance between Summer and 16-year-old Nicky Fisher, which is pleasant but no more charged with life than the stock characterization of Oriole and Angelo. Still the shady doings on the farm provide the necessary suspense and Summer's troubled but sturdy presence invites empathy.

Pub Date: March 10, 1983

ISBN: 0440201543

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1983

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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