LUV YA BUNCHES

From the Flower Power series , Vol. 1

Katie-Rose, Yasaman, Violet and Milla each occupy a different point in the fifth-grade social pecking order: Bossy, movie-obsessed Katie-Rose is at the bottom with Yasaman, whose hijab-wearing quietude belies her sharp insight and impressive computer geekery. New girl Violet has serious cool potential but is tortured by worries over her institutionalized mother, while fundamentally nice but deeply anxious Milla can’t disentangle herself from Mean Girl–in-chief Modessa (fittingly called Medusa by Katie-Rose) and her henchwoman, Quin. With the blend of IM, texting, screenplay format, blog posts and standard narrative familiar from Myracle’s ttfn series, each chapter shifts perspective, letting readers see the action from each girl’s point of view. The plot is thin but perfectly captures tweens’ concerns about social machinations, fitting in and finding a trustworthy group of pals, existing primarily to bring together the fabulously diverse foursome as they put a fitting, funny end to Modessa’s reign of terror. It’s no classic, but this series launch will be embraced, read and passed from friend to friend on middle-school playgrounds everywhere. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8109-4211-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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EAGLE SONG

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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BEOWULF

“Hear, and listen well, my friends, and I will tell you a tale that has been told for a thousand years and more.” It’s not exactly a rarely told tale, either, though this complete rendition is distinguished by both handsome packaging and a prose narrative that artfully mixes alliterative language reminiscent of the original, with currently topical references to, for instance, Grendel’s “endless terror raids,” and the “holocaust at Heorot.” Along with being printed on heavy stock and surrounded by braided borders, the text is paired to colorful scenes featuring a small human warrior squaring off with a succession of grimacing but not very frightening monsters in battles marked by but a few discreet splashes of blood. Morpurgo puts his finger on the story’s enduring appeal—“we still fear the evil that stalks out there in the darkness . . . ”—but offers a version unlikely to trouble the sleep of more sensitive readers or listeners. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-3206-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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