BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

In a briefer recasting of Leprince Beaumont's beloved tale than McKinley's fine novelization (1978), Willard grounds the story in the opulent materialism of the late 19th century, with Beauty's father as a wealthy New York merchant; their country retreat is in the Hudson Valley, where the Beast's magical Victorian mansion fits right in with a region renowned for supernatural happenings. Willard's telling is brisk but lyrical, of course, the lovely romantic touches delicately balanced with wry humor. There are but two sisters here, as self-serving as Cinderella's; in an abruptly vengeful conclusion, they become a pair of andirons. Otherwise, the tone is gentle, with much of the interest in the enchanting details of the Beast's magical home and garden. Moser provides 14 wood engravings, handsome but rather austere for attracting much of the book's natural audience. There are telling (but distancing) portraits of Beauty and her sisters; a poignant take on the beast—deformed face, haunted eyes; the brooding mansion; and, representing the denouement, a chaste pair of hands, not quite clasped. A felicitous retelling, in an elegant format that leaves plenty of ``scope for the imagination.'' (Fiction. 6+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-15-206052-9

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1992

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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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