ATTABOY, SAM!

Anastasia's little brother, whose infant point of view was explored in All About Sam (1988), is now a preschooler whose wit and persistence mark him as precocious, but who is still winningly typical in such details as the messy results of mixing mustard and ketchup on his hotdog. Mom's birthday is coming up; she's outspokenly devastated by being 38 and wants only homemade presents. No problem: hearing that her favorite perfume is no longer available, Sam manufactures a substitute in a not-quite- empty grape-juice bottle from the recycling bin. Ever-alert to what Mom says smells good, he keeps Ziplock bags at the ready and manages to add to his brew a bit of sea water, one of Dad's old pipes, chicken soup, tissues that have been used for cleaning up a baby (both ends), and some yeast—his concern over the increasingly noxious odor competing with his truly childlike hope that somehow it will all come right. It doesn't—but the concoction's explosion is only the most spectacular of three resounding failures: Dad has clumsily touched up a portrait photo, and Anastasia has written a notably tactless poem (Sam's offhand help with this proves that he's inherited a lot more of poet Dad's talent than his sister; unfortunately, she tinkers with her effort after Sam's last suggestions). Still, in the end, Sam saves the day, in a tidy but thoroughly satisfying conclusion. Warm, lively, true to children's real inner lives, and laugh-aloud funny all the way. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-395-61588-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

DONAVAN'S WORD JAR

Donavan's friends collect buttons and marbles, but he collects words. ``NUTRITION,'' ``BALLYHOO,'' ``ABRACADABRA''—these and other words are safely stored on slips of paper in a jar. As it fills, Donavan sees a storage problem developing and, after soliciting advice from his teacher and family, solves it himself: Visiting his grandma at a senior citizens' apartment house, he settles a tenants' argument by pulling the word ``COMPROMISE'' from his jar and, feeling ``as if the sun had come out inside him,'' discovers the satisfaction of giving his words away. Appealingly detailed b&w illustrations depict Donavan and his grandma as African-Americans. This Baltimore librarian's first book is sure to whet readers' appetites for words, and may even start them on their own savory collections. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-020190-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more