LARKY MAVIS

From the author of Buttons (2000) comes a simply told tale with deep emotional and metaphorical resonance. Town fool Larky Mavis, “mooning about, mooning about,” trips over peanuts in the road, one of which contains—well, what is it? A worm, opines the schoolmaster. A mouse, says the parson. Maybe a bat, sniffs the doctor. Calling it “Heart’s Delight,” and keeping it swaddled out of sight in ragged blankets until the end, Larky Mavis feeds it and carries it about, even as it grows to baby size and larger. With curling wisps of line and color, Cole depicts Mavis as an unkempt redhead living outdoors, caring for a trio of disheveled children as well as her Heart’s Delight as townsfolk in country dress look on with increasing unease. At last, when they try to relieve Larky Mavis of her burden, Heart’s Delight sprouts wings and carries her away. The story’s musical language and the whimsical, freely drawn art combine to keep the general tone light, but the characters, settings and events here, strongly reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1993) though not so portentous, will leave sensitive readers moved and thoughtful. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2001

ISBN: 0-374-34365-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Gentle, encouraging, witty fantasy that may soothe readers suffering from climate anxiety.

THE GOLDEN SWIFT

From the Silver Arrow series , Vol. 2

Children with magical talking steam trains are thrilled by their clever new plan to rescue endangered animals.

Eleven-year-old Kate absolutely adores her secret job—helping animals in need by using the magical locomotive that was a gift from her billionaire wizard uncle. Kate loves riding the Silver Arrow with Uncle Herbert; her brother, Tom; and the talking animals they escort to safe places. But now Uncle Herbert is missing, 9-year-old Tom seems more interested in hapkido than their supernatural train, and Kate’s struggling socially and academically thanks to her eco-anxiety. No matter how many animals she helps, no matter how many adults proclaim that climate change is a critical issue, the environment keeps getting worse. One night Kate discovers another train driving on the magical railroad: The Golden Swift is conducted by her classmate Jag, who thinks rescuing stranded creatures isn’t sufficiently radical. When Kate joins him, she feels more inspired and more righteous than ever before. This time, she’s actually making the world better! Kate’s unhappy discoveries of unintended consequences and the moral complexities of her activism are softened by humor. The snarky banter of the talking locomotive is an understated delight, as is the train constructed with, among others, candy and ice cream cars, an invisible car, and a dojo car. Kate and Tom are White; Jag is described as having dark skin and black hair and possibly being Indian. Charming illustrations enhance the text.

Gentle, encouraging, witty fantasy that may soothe readers suffering from climate anxiety. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-28354-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them.

THE MADRE DE AGUAS OF CUBA

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 5

The Unicorn Rescue Society investigates the disappearance of a Cuban sea serpent.

In the fifth series installment, returning protagonists Uchenna and Elliot are in school, learning about water, when Professor Fauna calls them away. As the kids board the professor’s rickety single-propeller plane, they learn where exactly they are heading: Cuba. The island is in the middle of a massive drought, and Professor Fauna has reason to believe that the Madres de aguas (the Mother of Waters) has gone missing. It’s up to the society to find the sea serpent before any more damage is done to the people and wildlife of Cuba. As they set out on their mission of derring-do, they realize that once again they are up against their nemeses, the Schmoke Brothers. Via Yoenis, their Cuban American society liaison, Uchenna, Elliot, and readers learn about the political and economic hardships experienced by the people of Cuba, the island’s lack of basic goods and necessities, and Cuba’s need for real democracy (although the current role of the military is elided). This is conveyed within a quick, fast-paced read that’s ideal for kids who want a straightforward magical adventure. Uchenna is Nigerian, Elliot is white and Jewish, and Professor Fauna is Peruvian.

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3142-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more