Terrific appetizer for discussion.

GIRLS STANDING ON LAWNS

This trim, clothbound first in a series from Kalman and Handler for the Museum of Modern Art offers an intriguing painting-and-prose response to a selection of photographs of, as the title indicates, girls and young women standing on lawns.

The 42 black-and-white photographs presented here are unremarkable at first glance. Gifts to the museum from a handful of donors, including Kalman, they represent the work of mostly amateur photographers from 1910 to 1955. Handler’s droll, laconic prose poem complements the one-dimensional nature of these images; a few words accompanying each invite readers to consider that someone in particular is standing in each photograph: “Keep track of this. / You will not remember / every place you have stood.” The combination of lawns, “girls” and posing for the camera seems to speak of a particular place, demographic and time. All are affecting, artless and sometimes poignant in their anonymity, but only two depict subjects who are not white: a young black girl standing with the only boy in these images, perhaps her younger brother; a young black woman in another. Kalman reinterprets 10 images in her energetic and inimitable fauve-esque palette; the unique charm of her paintings calls attention to the way the camera captures both what is intended and…something else. The MoMA’s curator of photography offers a note on a brief history of home photography and provides a description (“vernacular photography”) for the genre.

Terrific appetizer for discussion. (Poetry. 8 & up)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-87070-908-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud.

THE NEWSPAPER CLUB

From the Newspaper Club series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Nellie’s investigative reporting leads her to solve a mystery, start a newspaper, and learn key lessons about growing up.

Nellie’s voice is frank and often funny—and always full of information about newspapers. She tells readers of the first meeting of her newspaper club and then says, “But maybe I’m burying the lede…what Dad calls it when a reporter puts the most interesting part…in the middle or toward the end.” (This and other journalism vocabulary is formally defined in a closing glossary.) She backtracks to earlier that summer, when she and her mother were newly moved into a house next to her mother’s best friend in rural Bear Creek, Maine. Nellie explains that the newspaper that employed both of her parents in “the city” had folded soon after her father left for business in Asia. When Bear Creek Park gets closed due to mysterious, petty crimes, Nellie feels compelled to investigate. She feels closest to her dad when on the park’s swings, and she is more comfortable interviewing adults than befriending peers. Getting to know a plethora of characters through Nellie’s eyes is as much fun as watching Nellie blossom. Although astute readers will have guessed the park’s vandalizers, they are rewarded by observing Nellie’s fact-checking process. A late revelation about Nellie’s father does not significantly detract from this fully realized story of a young girl adjusting admirably to new circumstances. Nellie and her mother present white; secondary characters are diverse.

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9685-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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