WINTERKILL

It's a measure of Paulsen's gut level effectiveness that one really does come to feel some affection for Duda, a corrupt cop who extorts graft from kids in the form of illegally taken fish, who spends most of his night shifts shooting rabbits and visiting his mistress, and who kills two unresisting bank robbers in cold blood. The narrator, a nameless, kid virtually abandoned by his drunken parents, loves Duda for saving him from a maniacal foster father who tries to beat the sin out of him with a chain. . . and later for talking him out of marrying a fourteen-year-old classmate pregnant by another guy. Mostly, however, this kid has no one else to attach himself to, and the relationship that's meant to reveal a loving human being hidden behind a brutalized exterior is devalued because it's drawn solely in terms of the boy's weakness. By flirting with moral ambivalence to a degree uncommon at this level, Paulsen does shake up the reader's emotions. Ultimately Duda's brand of toughness is simply bathetic, but readers who can take the explicit violence and are mature enough not to mistake clever writing for profundity will want to make that judgment on their own.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1976

ISBN: 0525665188

Page Count: -

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1976

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

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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