Feckless but clever when it counts, young Fairy Nuff does accidentally blow up his woodland house—but on the bright side, he then helps to thwart a nuffarious neighbor’s plot to take over the Empire, earns a knighthood, and makes twenty thousand billion pounds to boot in this veddy British farce. As Fairy’s sibs Biggie and Sweetie, as well as their parents, Oldie Nuff and Oldie Nuff, have previously decamped, no one is hurt when the exploding barrel of gunpowder sets off an array of old war souvenirs. But after an errant grenade scatters gruff Widow Jennett Buhiss’s stock certificates to the winds, she orders her hulking henchman Orc to “ ‘BRING ME THE HEAD OF FAIRY NUFF!’ ” Fortunately, Fairy Nuff keeps his head; unfortunately, he’s slated to become dinner for the carnivorous rain forest plants in Widow Buhiss’s glasshouse. And luckily, he’s thrown into the same shed where Buhiss has stashed the kidnapped Queen of England. Brennan’s storyline doesn’t so much develop as take a series of wild spins and then chop off abruptly, but his extravagant puns and over-the-top pacing, enhanced by the raffish caricatures Collins (Busy Night, not reviewed, etc.) strews across every spread, will give fans of Ian Whybrow’s Little Wolf tales and the like more practice in delighted eye-rolling. Fair enuff. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-58234-770-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.


From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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A rare venture into contemporary fiction for Bruchac (The Circle of Thanks, p. 1529, etc.), this disappointing tale of a young Mohawk transplanted to Brooklyn, N.Y., is overstuffed with plotlines, lectures, and cultural information. Danny Bigtree gets jeers, or the cold shoulder, from his fourth-grade classmates, until his ironworker father sits him down to relate—at length- -the story of the great Mohawk peacemaker Aionwahta (Hiawatha), then comes to school to talk about the Iroquois Confederacy and its influence on our country's Founding Fathers. Later, Danny's refusal to tattle when Tyrone, the worst of his tormenters, accidentally hits him in the face with a basketball breaks the ice for good. Two sketchy subplots: Danny runs into an old Seminole friend, who, evidently due to parental neglect, has joined a gang; after dreaming of an eagle falling from a tree, Danny learns that his father has been injured in a construction- site accident. A worthy, well-written novella—but readers cannot be moved by a story that pulls them in so many different directions. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-1918-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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