A lovely tribute to all good people who still know how to negotiate peaceably with the earth on which they depend.

DRYLONGSO

In a concluding note, Hamilton discusses the origins of the name she gives Drylongso, "a youth imbued with simple human kindness. Not only does he personify drought, but he also represents the longing for rain."

Moreover, he's "a folk hero" and "the symbol of fate." The word itself, probably from the Gullah, means "drought" or, metaphorically, "ordinary" or "boring"; here, it provides a multilayered theme for an evocative story about a farm family enduring the drought of 1975 until, running in front of a dust storm, Drylongso takes refuge with them. While the storm rages outside and they battle the grit within, Drylongso converses with little Lindy's dad and Mamalou, telling jokes and stories about other droughts and explaining how farming practices like plowing have led to the dust storms. Next morning, he presents a gift of seed corn and potatoes; before he leaves, he uses a "dowser" to locate a spring. Told with elegant simplicity, the story's steady focus on elementals—earth, water, seed, the love of parent and child, home—gives it the mythic quality Hamilton intended. Meanwhile, Pinkney surpasses his own best work with his marvelous watercolors, their soft tones muted with the color of dust, the subtle relationships among the characters enriched by every detail of stance and expression, the prairie setting and homely household evoked in spare compositions of rare harmony.

A lovely tribute to all good people who still know how to negotiate peaceably with the earth on which they depend. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0152015876

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1992

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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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