A spirited and re-imagined retelling of a lesser-known tale by the Brothers Grimm. Rose and her stepsister, Blanche, are as different as their names: Rose is sweet and gentle and works hard; Blanche is lazy and cranky. When Rose loses her spindle in the well, her stepmother insists she go after it. But she wakes in a different world on the other side of the well. There she rescues bread from being burnt in the oven; she shakes an apple tree overladen with fruit; and she milks a cow in dire need of milking. Arriving at a cottage, she is welcomed by a woman named Mother Holly who has frighteningly large teeth. But she works for Mother Holly, shaking the quilts whose down makes snow on earth and finding her kind and good. When Rose returns home, Blanche envies the golden treasures she brings with her. Leaping into the well, she fails to repeat Rose’s kind acts and when she comes home she is covered in briars, not gold. In a departure from the original ending, goodhearted Rose goes back down the well with Blanche, where Blanche learns to work and not to complain, and both girls are covered in gold and glory at the end. Though the telling is often awkward and stiff (the idea of the large teeth is never really explained except in the adaptor’s note), the illustrations carry the day. They are rich in naturalistic detail, from kittens and roses to bones long buried in the earth. Westerman (Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, 1995, etc.) wields color like a magic wand, making well water translucent, peacock feathers iridescent, and the heavy silk of Rose’s blue gown palpable. (Folktale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55858-926-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.


From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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