PERMANENT ROSE

Readers who have fallen in love with the eccentric, cheerfully chaotic Casson family from the award-winning Saffy’s Angel (2002) and Indigo’s Star (2004) may initially resent the intrusion of David, the enormous ex-tormenter of Indigo, who seems as if he’ll never be accepted into the fold. Still, this disarming family could charm snakes, and David proves indispensable: Saving Rose from a life of crime as she dabbles in shoplifting; helping her bury a cat and un-bury her sister Caddy’s diamond ring (that Rose stole); even helping her reconnect with her long-lost American friend Tom. As ever, the family’s hardships are softened by kindness: Rose waits daily at the mailbox for a letter from Tom, but Caddy’s fiancé, Michael, gives her a rose every single day to ease her pain. Even the shocking revelation about the adopted Saffron’s biological father doesn’t destroy the indomitable Cassons. This fine, funny sequel, with its wonderful dialogue and utterly effortless-seeming weave of plots and characters, stands on its own, but readers will certainly want to get their hands on the first two. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-4169-0372-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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  • Newbery Honor Book

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE

A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice. India Opal’s mama left when she was only three, and her father, “the preacher,” is absorbed in his own loss and in the work of his new ministry at the Open-Arms Baptist Church of Naomi [Florida]. Enter Winn-Dixie, a dog who “looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain.” But, this dog had a grin “so big that it made him sneeze.” And, as Opal says, “It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.” Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets Miss Franny Block, an elderly lady whose papa built her a library of her own when she was just a little girl and she’s been the librarian ever since. Then, there’s nearly blind Gloria Dump, who hangs the empty bottle wreckage of her past from the mistake tree in her back yard. And, Otis, oh yes, Otis, whose music charms the gerbils, rabbits, snakes and lizards he’s let out of their cages in the pet store. Brush strokes of magical realism elevate this beyond a simple story of friendship to a well-crafted tale of community and fellowship, of sweetness, sorrow and hope. And, it’s funny, too. A real gem. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0776-2

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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LUNCH MONEY

Budding billionaire Greg Kenton has a knack for making money and a serious rival. When he issues his first Chunky Comic Book at the beginning of sixth grade, his neighbor and classmate Maura Shaw produces an alternative. Their quarrel draws the attention of the principal, who bans comics from the school. But when they notice all the other commercial messages in their school, they take their cause to the local school committee. Without belaboring his point, Clements takes on product placement in schools and the need for wealth. “Most people can only use one bathroom at a time,” says Greg’s math teacher, Mr. Z. Greg gets the message; middle-grade readers may ignore it in favor of the delightful spectacle of Greg’s ultimate economic success, a pleasing result for the effort this up-and-coming young businessman puts into his work. Clements weaves intriguing information about comic book illustration into this entertaining, smoothly written story. Selznick’s accompanying black-and-white drawings have the appearance of sketches Greg might have made himself. This hits the jackpot. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-86683-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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