TOOTH AND CLAW

ANIMAL ADVENTURES IN THE WILD

Is there anywhere in the world that Ted Lewin hasn’t visited? This may well be the question that readers will ask after finishing this volume consisting of 14 travel pieces—brief vignettes, really—describing Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator (Peppe the Lamplighter, 1993) and sometime author Lewin’s up-close-and-personal adventures with all sorts of creatures in all sorts of habitats in the US and around the world. From Alaska to the Galápagos Islands, from Alberta to Botswana and many points in-between, Lewin has had adventures that many would-be travelers could only dream about and maybe envy. He’s swum (albeit involuntarily) with a bull shark in the Florida Keys; witnessed garbage-foraging elephants (who are also Elvis fans) and meat-eating chimps in Uganda; ridden through an Indian jungle for a glimpse of a very rare Bengal tiger; been almost attacked by crazed raccoons in Georgia; and gotten to know a dung beetle probably more than was absolutely necessary. Through it all, he’s schlepped a 40-pouind backpack, while his camera and sketching supplies have never been far off. Good thing, too, Lewin’s typically wonderful drawings are here, along with on-site photographs. Some of his experiences are humorous, some terrifying, all are fascinating. The author’s straightforward writing style makes these journeys great read-alouds, too. Appended to each adventure are Author’s Notes that put habitats and creatures in context. Perfect for armchair travelers and animal lovers. (maps, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-688-14105-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.

HOW TÍA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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NIM'S ISLAND

A child finds that being alone in a tiny tropical paradise has its ups and downs in this appealingly offbeat tale from the Australian author of Peeling the Onion (1999). Though her mother is long dead and her scientist father Jack has just sailed off on a quick expedition to gather plankton, Nim is anything but lonely on her small island home. Not only does she have constant companions in Selkie, a sea lion, and a marine iguana named Fred, but Chica, a green turtle, has just arrived for an annual egg-laying—and, through the solar-powered laptop, she has even made a new e-mail friend in famed adventure novelist Alex Rover. Then a string of mishaps darkens Nim’s sunny skies: her father loses rudder and dish antenna in a storm; a tourist ship that was involved in her mother’s death appears off the island’s reefs; and, running down a volcanic slope, Nim takes a nasty spill that leaves her feverish, with an infected knee. Though she lives halfway around the world and is in reality a decidedly unadventurous urbanite, Alex, short for “Alexandra,” sets off to the rescue, arriving in the midst of another storm that requires Nim and companions to rescue her. Once Jack brings his battered boat limping home, the stage is set for sunny days again. Plenty of comic, freely-sketched line drawings help to keep the tone light, and Nim, with her unusual associates and just-right mix of self-reliance and vulnerability, makes a character young readers won’t soon tire of. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81123-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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