TWELVE TALES

This collection is intelligently translated by a Dane whose grandfather once saw Andersen in the street. Throughout, Andersen's pixie-ish sense of humor remains intact. But while Blegvad's (The Three Little Pigs, 1980, etc.) highly detailed illustrations are deft, they are too small, and too cartoon-like, to fully complement the passionate Andersen. When the tin soldier is thrown in the oven (unsure whether the heat is ``caused by the fire or by love'') and realizes that he is melting but holds himself erect because the little dancer is watching—one of the world's great love stories is coming to a ten-hankie end. But in the tiny illustration our hero is just a blurry figure surrounded by sketchy flames. The whimsical pictures do well by the more humorous fables, such as ``What Father Does is Always Right.'' But Andersen, like his soldier, was not a man who ``wept tin.'' The match girl who longs for her grandmother, the fir tree who longs for glory, the tin soldier and the little dancer who long for each other—all return to the home they love only to die, and die young. Andersen's greatest stories were tragedies. They were written to haunt us and undoubtedly, one way or another, they always will. (Folklore. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-689-50584-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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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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