In all, though, a visual and interpretive feast bringing timeless tales to a young audience.

ECHO ECHO

REVERSO POEMS ABOUT THE GREEK MYTHS

Poetic portraits of well-known figures from Greek mythology.

Picking up where they left off with their “reverso” renderings of classic fairy tales (Follow Follow: A Book of Reversos, 2013, etc.), poet Singer and illustrator Masse take on Greek myth, choosing some of the most famous legends to explore from multiple perspectives. In 2010, Singer created the provocative reverso form, in which—not unlike an extended palindrome—a lyric poem presents a portrait and then recasts it backward, line by line, in a companion poem. The complicated fates of the dozen mythic figures portrayed here, among them Arachne, Midas, Demeter, and Persephone, lend themselves particularly well to this reflective form, and Masse’s gorgeous acrylics, richly stylized in blues and gold, effectively capture the dualistic nature of the reverso form. Here, curious Pandora, forever blamed for unleashing untold evils into the world when she “opened that darn box,” gets a sympathetic reprieve when the story flips: “She let loose those evils, / but / she didn’t collect them. / She gets the blame. / No matter that / it might have been great Zeus’s game.” The myth of “Eurydice and Orpheus,” though, again hinging on succumbing to desire, here relies rather too heavily on the narrative note at the bottom of the page to convey the tragic plot to young readers.

In all, though, a visual and interpretive feast bringing timeless tales to a young audience. (Picture book/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3992-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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