In a long picture story, a young girl, Olivia, and Mingo, the family slave, watch the sea throughout the seasons to see if the low tide will lay bare Aunt Becky’s Ledge. Mingo tells the child that her grandfather had promised him his freedom if that ever happened. As much as Olivia honors Mingo’s wish, she wants him to stay. In a parallel, one day she finds a baby mockingbird and Mingo shows her how to feed it and keep it alive. Mingo tells her she’ll have to keep it safe until it can fly away, but Olivia doesn’t want to let it go, either. Mingo tells her, “. . . someday you’ll know that keeping another soul caged is wrong.” Many years later, Mingo falls ill and on the day he dies, Olivia is able to walk to Aunt Becky’s Ledge carrying the bird. When she reaches the ledge, she sets the bird free and thinks she hears the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” the song she had sung with Mingo, free at last. Oil on canvas illustrations give a sweep to the landscape; the backgrounds are hazy and almost abstract, highlighting the human figures that seem stiff and posed. An author’s note relates that this was a legend in Pride’s Crossing, a section of Beverly, Massachusetts; her research includes the archival records of Mingo that she found in the Beverly Vital Records. In the author’s note, she explains that she created Olivia to make it possible to tell the story and includes a short description of slavery in Massachusetts. Sentimental, but it will find its audience. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7614-5111-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet