Stories of islands that have disappeared beneath the sea have long exerted a powerful hold over the human imagination. This beautifully told and illustrated story hints at some of the reasons why this may be so. On Carrie’s ninth birthday, her grandmother gives her a small box containing a perfect sand dollar and a note promising to take her to Billingsgate Island (a real place off the coast of Cape Cod), where she herself had found the sand dollar when she was just Carrie’s age. Now the island is uninhabited and entirely covered by the sea except at low tide. Grandma steers the motorboat out to the island, where the two picnic and explore, finding a piece of charred brick and the metal skeleton of the spiral lighthouse staircase lying on its side, artifacts of the flourishing community that once inhabited the island. Carrie closes her eyes and imagines how life might have been here long ago, in a sequence of pictures depicted in warm apricot earth tones that contrast with the coolness of the sea. There is a sense of the inexorable procession of time and the relentless power of the sea, stayed only in part by the transmission of stories and memories from one generation to another. “ ‘What I love about a place like this,’ ” says Grandma, “ ‘is that it reminds us that nature still can have its way once in a while.’ ” Lewin’s (Gorilla Walk, 1999, etc.) watercolors are luminous. The predominance of blue and the long lines of the horizon unify the pages, making this book lovely to look at as well as to read. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-80539-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.


From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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