THE MAIDEN ON THE MOOR

Tangentially inspired by an old English ballad (LC's 398.2 designation is questionable), this tale of a maiden found unconscious on a snowy moor has grand atmosphere but some unresolved mysteries. The maiden, taken in and cared for by a shepherd, awakens and begs the shepherd's smallest dog to slay her; in death she becomes both a goose soaring into the sky and a new maiden. The shepherd, till this moment in despair over the disappearance of the original maiden (whom he has come to love), joyfully welcomes the new one as his life's companion, knowing nothing of the sorcery and shape-shifting. Readers never learn why the goose was imprisoned in human form, nor how she came to be on the moor, nor why she did not confide her plight to the shepherd. Bleak Scottish moors are the background for colored-pencil illustrations in chill tones of gray, buff, and midnight blue, with the maiden rendered in pre-Raphaelite, alabaster beauty. Howell (The Ugly Duckling, Putnam, 1990, etc.) makes fuller use of the original ballad than Singer (Sky Words, Macmillan, 1994, etc.), by working flowers named there into decorative panels and borders. An illuminated initial capital and Celtic interlaces on many pages help establish the mood of antiquity. An adapted version of the ballad appears as a preface. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-688-08674-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.

HOW TÍA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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