An urban story that explores the universal themes of integrity, trust, and respect in relationships.

EVERYTHING'S CHANGED

From the Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine series , Vol. 3

A 10-year-old girl copes with a family move as well as challenges with both new and old friends in this third book about Celie Valentine.

Celie Valentine Altman’s family moves from Brooklyn to Manhattan in order to allow Celie’s grandmother, who is becoming increasingly confused as she ages, to live with them, along with a live-in nurse. Although the new place is only about an hour by subway away from their previous home, Celie is forced to adjust quickly to life without sharing a room with her sister as well as to a new school and new friends. Via first-person diary entries on ruled paper, spy notes, and sketches made over the course of just 10 days, readers get to follow along with Celie’s moral dilemmas: should she go along with the pushy Mary Majors, who seems to invite trouble wherever she goes? Should she continue to pry into her sister’s boyfriend challenges against her sister’s wishes? Can she be friends with both Mary and Charlie? Shouldn’t she tell her parents when plans change or something is unsafe? When her decisions culminate in a minor disaster, Celie is grateful that her loving parents and grandmother can help her balance her world again. Celie and her family are white, as are Mary Majors and Charlie; her doodles reveal an awareness of New York’s cultural mix.

An urban story that explores the universal themes of integrity, trust, and respect in relationships. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62979-672-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean.

MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE

A 12-year-old copes with a brain tumor.

Maddie likes potatoes and fake mustaches. Kids at school are nice (except one whom readers will see instantly is a bully); soon they’ll get to perform Shakespeare scenes in a unit they’ve all been looking forward to. But recent dysfunctions in Maddie’s arm and leg mean, stunningly, that she has a brain tumor. She has two surgeries, the first successful, the second taking place after the book’s end, leaving readers hanging. The tumor’s not malignant, but it—or the surgeries—could cause sight loss, personality change, or death. The descriptions of surgery aren’t for the faint of heart. The authors—parents of a real-life Maddie who really had a brain tumor—imbue fictional Maddie’s first-person narration with quirky turns of phrase (“For the love of potatoes!”) and whimsy (she imagines her medical battles as epic fantasy fights and pretends MRI stands for Mustard Rat from Indiana or Mustaches Rock Importantly), but they also portray her as a model sick kid. She’s frightened but never acts out, snaps, or resists. Her most frequent commentary about the tumor, having her skull opened, and the possibility of death is “Boo” or “Super boo.” She even shoulders the bully’s redemption. Maddie and most characters are white; one cringe-inducing hallucinatory surgery dream involves “chanting island natives” and a “witch doctor lady.”

Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean. (authors’ note, discussion questions) (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62972-330-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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