THE EGYPT GAME

Offbeat kids, in dialogue, ingenious pretense and attendant complications—all the elements for ten, eleven-year-old enjoyment, and then a problem: a criminally insane killer of children. April, an insecure sophisticate, and Melanie, a sensible Negro girl of compatible imagination, transform a deserted back yard into the land of Egypt, and themselves into votaries of ancient rites. The Egypt Game is not only "a terrific game," but also "a life unknown to grown-ups and lived by kids alone." At its height, the wanton murder of a child occurs in the vicinity, and the adults refuse to let the children out to play. But. surveillance relaxes eventually, the ceremonies resume (with new recruits), and on a late night visit to the lot, April is attacked—something grabs her out of the darkness, fingers close on her mouth and throat. She is saved by the shouts of an elderly antique dealer who had been a suspect; the assailant is identified and sent to an institution. The danger to April and the subsequently revealed life story of the antique dealer motivate the solution of most of everybody's family problems, and Melanie and April (much humanized) plan further imaginative adventures. The heterogeneous composition of a university community in California contributes to the subtle (sometimes suspicious, ultimately enriching) relationships among the children, and their Egyptian absorption is all too real. But objections remain: the antique dealer is the stock suspect-turned-sympathetic-sage, and the demented killer is both tangential to the plot and a questionable component in a book for this age. As Melanie says, this is "the kind of thing parents tell their children when they're alone together." Because the episode is handled with restraint, We can only question, not condemn; the decision is yours.

Pub Date: March 21, 1967

ISBN: 1416990518

Page Count: 241

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1967

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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WONDER

After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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