THE STORYTELLER’S SECRETS

Twins Toby and Tess live with their mother in a cottage by the village green, and she sends them out with a picnic lunch to sit beneath the huge old chestnut tree. A twinkly-eyed old man materializes there, and in exchange for the children’s sharing their lunch with him, he tells them a story. His name, aptly, is Teller, and over time he appears again, with more tales. Each time, he gives them a bit of something to remind them of the story he told: a dried berry from “The Woodcutter’s Daughter,” a bit of cloth from “St. Brigid’s Cloak” and so on. His tales are told in vigorous rhymed verse, with prose sections knitting it all together. Bailey’s black-and-white illustrations, in lithe line in Teller’s tales and silhouette in Toby and Tess’s frame, provide elegant visual counterpoint. Teller turns out to be a recognizable and beloved mythic character, and he leaves the children with the seeds of future stories and echoes of those past. Varied types are used judiciously to highlight both prose and verse; kudos to the designer for the harmonious whole. (Folktales/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75190-2

Page Count: 124

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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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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DONAVAN'S WORD JAR

Donavan's friends collect buttons and marbles, but he collects words. ``NUTRITION,'' ``BALLYHOO,'' ``ABRACADABRA''—these and other words are safely stored on slips of paper in a jar. As it fills, Donavan sees a storage problem developing and, after soliciting advice from his teacher and family, solves it himself: Visiting his grandma at a senior citizens' apartment house, he settles a tenants' argument by pulling the word ``COMPROMISE'' from his jar and, feeling ``as if the sun had come out inside him,'' discovers the satisfaction of giving his words away. Appealingly detailed b&w illustrations depict Donavan and his grandma as African-Americans. This Baltimore librarian's first book is sure to whet readers' appetites for words, and may even start them on their own savory collections. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-020190-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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