THE FAMOUS STANLEY KIDNAPPING CASE

The Stanley family we all remember from Snyder's highly successful The Headless Cupid (1971) gets a year in Italy when stepmother Molly's expatriate uncle leaves her money that has to be spent there. Molly's 13-year-old daughter Amanda, just a little better adjusted to the new family arrangement than she was in her poltergeist days, continues to brag about her rich father; and as a result all five children are kidnapped though the culprits had only bargained for Amanda. She is despondent, sure that her father won't bother to rescue her, and the others are fearful that he won't be able to come up with the million-dollar ransom. When they hear that he is in Italy but can't raise the million, David, the oldest Stanley, is really worried, but Amanda, with this evidence of her father's concern, comes to life. Much of the story takes place in the kids' basement prison, where seven-year-old, bilingual Janle (the family genius) interprets for the masked kidnappers, guesses their identity, and—with a view to being so cute their captors can't possibly kill them—gets up a hilarious performance with herself acting out Juliet's death scene and the four-year-old twins following with the Mickey Mouse Club song. For their part David and Amanda stage a miracle, which does have the kidnappers wondering; but in the end it's Janie who saves them all. A lively, likable family adventure, a bit slow to hit its stride and not as ingenious as The Headless Cupid, but still crackling with the Stanley family's distinctive charm and energy.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1979

ISBN: 0440424852

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1979

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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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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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