FAIRY TALE FEASTS

A LITERARY COOKBOOK FOR YOUNG READERS AND EATERS

For a really nice idea wonderfully fulfilled, Yolen retells very familiar tales in versions lively, brief and energetic: Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and a number of others. Her daughter, Stemple, adds recipes to each tale, sometimes with tenuous connection but always with humor. These are great recipes for French toast, carrot soup, lemon chicken, mashed turnips that are straightforward, relatively easy to make with adult and child working together and good to eat. Measurements are given in American and British amounts and possible substitutions are noted and suggested. The colorful, whimsical illustrations hit just the right note both in full-page versions and smaller vignettes; for instance, “The Magic Pot of Porridge” shows a small house with a roof tilted crazily due to porridge pressure. Notes on the stories and on the recipes fill sidebars, and these are clear, accurate and engaging to both young and older readers. (Fairytales/cookbook. 8-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1566567513

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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This unusual book offers a surprising amount of information, organized and presented in an appealing way for...

WHY WE LIVE WHERE WE LIVE

Why do people choose to live where they do in our world?

Vermond’s introduction to that big question points out that humans adapt: They use their big brains and work together to make places livable. A comfortable climate, readily available food and water, power for heat, light, transportation and communication, people who speak the same language, nearby families and plentiful jobs are just some of the things people are looking for. From the “Planet Perfect” to making your hometown one of “The Happiest Places on Earth,” the author considers human needs, briefly surveys the development of cities, explains what urban planners do, considers the reasons for living in a dangerous place as well as the reasons for moving, and touches on the effects of climate change and the possibility of living elsewhere in the universe. Each spread covers a separate topic. The extensive, conversational text is often set in columns and broken down into short segments, each with a heading, moving along quickly. A lively design and humorous illustrations add appeal. Unfortunately, there are no sources or suggestions for further reading.

This unusual book offers a surprising amount of information, organized and presented in an appealing way for upper-elementary students. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-011-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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