ANASTASIA AT YOUR SERVICE

Another amusing visit with Anastasia Krupnik, new 12 and in desperate need of money (for what is not said). So Anastasia advertises herself as a companion—but, to her horror, the rich old lady who hires her puts her to work as a maid instead. And as site mangles a spoon in the disposal on the first day, she can't quit until she's paid off its $35.00 value in labor. (As Mrs. Bellingham, her employer, refers to the incident as a "debacle," Anastasia believes throughout the story that she is paying for a mangled "bockle.") But during her service Anastasia becomes friends with Mrs. Bellingham's rebellious granddaughter Daphne, and together they plot revenge on the old lady: Daphne steals a pile of leftover invitations to her grandmother's upcoming charity bash and sends them to a few of the town's outcasts and underprivileged. The girls repent too late, on learning that the charity is the children's hospital in which Anastasia's little brother has just been a patient—and then try desperately, with the predictable hilarious results, to spot the undesirables and remove them from the party. After Daphne mistakenly asks the mayor to leave, Mrs. Bellingham questions the girls and concludes: "Surely it is apparent by new that those people, whatever their problems, know how to behave ata party.' Along with a Roots trip Anastasia takes with her father to the poor-but-charming (new Italian) Boston neighborhood where he grew up, it all goes to inculcate in Anastasia some corny and unexamined American myths. But as Lowry uses these egalitarian lessons to anchor the story, not vice versa, readers won't feel manipulated.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 1982

ISBN: 0440402905

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1982

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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