Taking up where Fairy Nuff (p. 801) leaves off, this equally madcap import features the world’s most expensive housewarming party, stampeding elephants, a humongous explosion, interspecies romance, and, as they say, much, much more. Having happened upon twenty thousand billion pounds in the previous episode, clever young Fairy Nuff decides to spend some of it on a castle, and considerably more of it hiring the Chinese National State Circus, Disneyland Paris, the wreck of the Titanic, Ayers Rock, the Space Shuttle and similar entertainments for a party, to whom everyone from the Queen to the President of the United States is invited. Unfortunately, not only has a dyslexic contractor mortared the new building with gunpowder rather than cement, but old Widow Buhiss, the money’s former owner, has escaped from prison to reclaim her nest egg and murder Fairy Nuff. The stage is set for—love? Yes, for while all of this is developing, so is a subplot involving a shy Javanese termite named Albert, and #287655439, a giddy member of a colony of displaced African elephant-eating ants. Deadpan caricatures on nearly every page reflect the zaniness of this surreal, loose-jointed farce; share it with young fans of Roald Dahl’s The Twits (1980) and suchlike. Though more sequels are almost certainly on their way, enuff is enuff for now. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-58234-771-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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