Lily, a ten-year-old latchkey kid, depends upon the kindness of her neighbors on the third floor of her apartment building whenever she forgets her key. She usually avoids Apartment 3D because Mr. Freeman is mean, nasty, and argumentative. In addition, his four ugly cats yowl ceaselessly. But one day she discovers that underneath the grouchy exterior is a kind man who takes in stray cats and shares his meager existence with them. When Mr. Freeman dies, Lily negotiates an agreement with the landlord to give her time to find homes for the animals before he calls the ASPCA. In doing so, she discovers that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, as she finds just the right homes for three of them. The fourth is allowed to maintain his independence, with a little help from Lily, in the form of an occasional bowl of food on the fire escape. Sachs constructs a slight plot, without side issues. Whatever deeper meanings might be discovered are left undeveloped. And that’s all right. A more mature reader might see that Mr. Freeman’s nearly empty refrigerator is indicative of poverty, and that the “witchy woman” seems to want one particular cat only because it might be valuable. But the work also appeals as a straightforward story, told in the first person by an engaging child who recognizes and responds to kindness. The text does not crowd the page and is liberally illustrated with simple, child-like black line drawings by Litzinger, who is given credit only in the copyright information. A sweet read. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-84581-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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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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