THE BOY WHO LOST HIS FACE

A wry, uneven story in which a junior-high-schooler has his fling with the "in" crowd but ultimately finds more rewarding friends. David stands by uneasily while Roger and two other popular classmates knock down old Mrs. Bayfield, break her window, and steal her cane. When he himself is plagued by similar mishaps, he wonders whether he has been cursed—especially after learning that Mrs. Bayfield is reputed to be a witch who steals faces. Sachar gives David more than his share of grief: a constant victim of japes and jeers, he hangs around with outcasts Larry and Mo (Maureen); having nerved himself to ask out friendly Tori, he stands in front of her and loses his pants. Then, desperate to retrieve the cane and end the curse, he challenges Roger; battered but unbowed, he gets the cane, marches it back to Mrs. Bayfield, and learns that she's Tori's aunt and also a well-known artist who makes life masks (thus the witch rumor). Like There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom (1987), this features plenty of wildly tunny moments and deftly depicted social interaction; but once again Sachar keeps underestimating readers, halting the action to explain points he wants to make. Meanwhile, the final scenes, including a bibliotherapeutic epilogue set 150 years hence, are contrived and awkwardly handled.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1989

ISBN: 0679886222

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1989

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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