NIM'S ISLAND

A child finds that being alone in a tiny tropical paradise has its ups and downs in this appealingly offbeat tale from the Australian author of Peeling the Onion (1999). Though her mother is long dead and her scientist father Jack has just sailed off on a quick expedition to gather plankton, Nim is anything but lonely on her small island home. Not only does she have constant companions in Selkie, a sea lion, and a marine iguana named Fred, but Chica, a green turtle, has just arrived for an annual egg-laying—and, through the solar-powered laptop, she has even made a new e-mail friend in famed adventure novelist Alex Rover. Then a string of mishaps darkens Nim’s sunny skies: her father loses rudder and dish antenna in a storm; a tourist ship that was involved in her mother’s death appears off the island’s reefs; and, running down a volcanic slope, Nim takes a nasty spill that leaves her feverish, with an infected knee. Though she lives halfway around the world and is in reality a decidedly unadventurous urbanite, Alex, short for “Alexandra,” sets off to the rescue, arriving in the midst of another storm that requires Nim and companions to rescue her. Once Jack brings his battered boat limping home, the stage is set for sunny days again. Plenty of comic, freely-sketched line drawings help to keep the tone light, and Nim, with her unusual associates and just-right mix of self-reliance and vulnerability, makes a character young readers won’t soon tire of. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81123-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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COME WITH ME TO AFRICA

A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY

An oddly unsatisfying account of a naturalist/photographer's 16,000-mile journey through 13 African countries. Traveling with a group of tourists in a custom-built truck—on an itinerary avoiding political trouble spots—Kreikemeier passed through every kind of landscape, including Kilimanjaro's snow field; his big, sun- drenched color photos expertly capture the drama of Victoria Falls and other natural features as well as close views of wildlife. The text offers less: condensing six months of travel into a few anecdotal paragraphs and captions per page robs the narrative of continuity and any sense of time or distance, while occasional piquant details—the eerie moaning of wind in the baobabs, or a list of belongings crammed into the author's 47-pound allotment- -only point up a tendency toward bland generalities (``Elephants are extremely interesting animals''). Except for a few shots of beaming, ragged young folk, a session with a shaman and his prognosticating land crab (``Fortunately for me, the sorcerer interpreted this as a sign that the rest of the expedition would be successful,'' Kreikemeier condescendingly remarks), and some group shots of herders and dancers, the people of Africa are not much in evidence here. Visually enticing, but not as thoughtful as Chiasson's African Journey (1987). (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-307-15660-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1993

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A BUSY DAY AT THE GARAGE

A rural, pleasantly ramshackle garage is the setting for this lively book. Each spread features the station and its forecourt, with a flurry of activity accompanying each turn of the page: The garage opens up for the day; a bashed-in car arrives; a brief squall soaks a lady, her swain, and their tony convertible. Over it all presides Mr. Fingers, a harmlessly gangsterish type in striped trousers and white jacket. Dupasquier (Andy's Pirate Ship, 1994, etc.) keeps the text quick, simple, and hand-in-glove with the illustrations (``Mick and Mack start to work on Mr. Walker's car. Pete serves the first customer''). These watercolors are equally nimble, deliberately cartoonish in the linework and saturated colors. The front and rear flap covers fold out with an array of questions and puzzles pertaining to the story. Bright, boisterous, fun; for children who take to the format, there are two companion volumes: A Busy Day at the Airport (ISBN 1-56402-591-8) and A Busy Day at the Building Site (592-6). (Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-590-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995

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