THE SOLOMON SYSTEM

Ted and Nory Solomon's parents decide to split up, and harrowingly can't agree which of them should move out—while, less convincingly, the close, mutually supportive relationship between Ted and Nory, 13 and 16, also seems to Ted to be crumbling. "The Solomon system," a neighbor's tag for that relationship, also has the Biblical link that you might suspect—involving one of those picturesque/wise Jewish grandmothers who are fast becoming a staple of juvenile fiction. The story: on the eve of leaving for camp, Ted and Nory learn that their mother intends to bring an end to family quarrels and silences by calling for a divorce; at camp, anxiously waiting for the shoe to drop, extrovert Ted finds introvert Nory not only uncommunicative, but actively pulling away from him (there's some rivalry about a girl, as well as lots of camp hijinks); when word does come, Nory erupts—"They're going to dump the decision on us. We decide who goes and who stays. The hell with that!" Ted plans survival-in-the-woods; Nory proceeds "to shut that little door in his head again." Faced with the boys' refusal to decide, their parents fight for days, then decide to split Ted and Nory up. Now comes Grandma Rose's talk about Solomon; Nory's swing-into-action—joint action; Ted's reproach to his parents ("We're a team. . . . Just because you aren't a team any more, don't try to split us up"); and the differently Solomonic decision that the parents will jointly rent an apartment, and take turns living there and in the house. That decision can be argued, and so can Naylor's over-weighting of the boys' relationship. (At 13 and 16, in a big house, why are they sharing a room? How many camps would put them in the same bunk? Etcetera.) But the teen-sibling angle on divorce comes across forcibly.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 1983

ISBN: 068971128X

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1983

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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