PEEWEE AND PLUSH

PeeWee, the intrepid guinea pig, is back and now he has a mate. Timid Plush, the only other guinea pig that PeeWee knows in Central Park, is the object of his affection. A nameless man who figured out that PeeWee needed some companionship bought her and set her free in the park. At first, things don’t look good for the young couple; while PeeWee has learned to embrace the life and breadth of the park, Plush longs for the coziness and comfort of her cage in the pet store, where food was abundant and humans held and stroked her. Eventually, her thirst and hunger force her to leave the hole that PeeWee has prepared for her. Their sweet relationship mirrors human ones: a misunderstanding causes a rift that takes time to mend, they learn to appreciate the hobbies and passions of the other, and eventually they learn the joys and challenges that come from raising a family. The joys of a burgeoning friendship and love delightfully unfold through the world of these two fluffy critters and their squirrel friend, Lexi. Whether they are listening to Puccini (Plush has learned to appreciate all things operatic during her time in the pet shop), or PeeWee is reading aloud from Thomas Hood’s poetry (PeeWee learned a thing or two from his mother in the pet store too), or thinking of ways to protect their young family from approaching winter, PeeWee and Plush celebrate the many joys of life. The ample white space, sweet pencil drawings, and generous font make this a fine choice for the earliest reader. It’s one of friendship, love, and working together that will warm all but the most jaded of hearts. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-58717-191-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: SeaStar/North-South

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

TIGER BOY

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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