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Click to search this book in our catalog Dead End in Norvelt
by Gantos, Jack

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Dot
by Patricia Intriago

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-In this whimsical book about opposites, each dot acts as a visual analogy. Simplicity equals accessibility, but it also denotes depth of thought. Even two- and three-year-olds will make astute observations. Visually announcing the morning, the story begins with a large, shining, cadmium yellow dot on a cyan blue background with the simple text, "Dot." Humor prevails on one spread that contrasts a chewed dot: "This dot is yummy," with a chewed dot and spit-out piece, "This dot tastes bad." Another unique spread is tactile in its rendition of "Hard dot," which does not yield under the pressure of a small photographed finger pressing down, opposite "Soft dot," which does yield like a soft rubber ball. Most of the book is in black and white unless there is a reason for color, as on the "Stop dot" and "Go dot" or on the "Hurt dot" and "Heal dot" pages. Band-Aid and boo-boo stories, and countless others, will pour forth from young audiences. Children will encounter ample ways to interact with this incredibly elegant, clever, and delightful concept book.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In the minimalist style of Herve Tullet's Press Here (2011), this debut cleverly squeezes a lot of sly humor from that dullest of shapes: the dot. It begins in color ( Stop dot is red; Go dot is green), but most of the book is, impressively, rendered in black and white, with the smallest of alterations giving the titular object a whole lot of personality. A giant black dot is Heavy dot. Floating, fine-lined circles like bubbles are Light dots. Hungry dot is just a circle, but its partner, Full dot, is a chubby, squarish, page-filling solid black shape just looking at it makes you feel full. This dot is yummy has a dot with a bite taken out of it. This dot tastes bad is the same thing, except with the bitten chunk lying beside it. There is even an out-of-nowhere picture of a Dalmatian ( Got dots ) and a zebra ( Not dots ) to keep things fresh. You get the idea: this is simple, surprising graphic design that will wake up even jaded readers to the creative possibilities inherent in the most basic of shapes.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In her debut, graphic designer Intriago explores dots as a graphic designer might, crisply and systematically. The text begins like a P.D. Eastman classic ("Dot. Stop dot. Go dot. Slow dot. Fast dot"). White pages with simple, graphic, black shapes communicate their messages like signs. "Slow dot" hasn't made it all the way onto the left page yet; "[f]ast dot," with lines coming off it, speeds off the other edge. Thoughts about dots grow more complex: "This dot is yummy" shows a large black dot with a bite taken out of it; "This dot tastes bad" shows the same bitten-into dot, this time with the discarded bite lying beside it. Occasionally the protocol is enlivened with photographs, a visual "kaboom" amid the overall air of restraint ("Got dots," says a picture of a Dalmatian; "Not dots" shows a striped zebra), but it's back to black and white as the book bids goodnight: "Dots up in the sky so bright/ twinkle as we say goodnight." And indeed, as might be expected from a book this elemental, there's something restful about it. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Girl In A Band
by Kim Gordon

Library Journal For 30 years, Kim Gordon was a Girl in a Band: Sonic Youth, the seminal alternative rock, postpunk New York group she formed in 1981 with her then-boyfriend, later husband, Thurston Moore. Until the band-and their marriage-broke up in 2011, the author sang and played bass, made art, and raised a daughter. Gordon's life story, as she tells it here, may not have been nonstop bohemian glamour, but with her deadpan and often very funny running narrative, she doesn't make it sound too shabby either. The book is more panoramic than reflective: while the performer's thoughts on various projects, artistic decisions, balancing motherhood with touring, and the ever-present male gaze are provocative, her strength lies in telling a solid art-world yarn. There's also something of an elegiac tone throughout: for the author's marriage and her band, for a period in art and music that was ripe with possibilities-and perhaps especially for a vanished Manhattan. VERDICT Gordon's career as a musician, artist, critic, performer, producer, and designer spanned the last truly hip era of downtown New York. The names and the nostalgia-for those who remember or who wish they did-are well worth the price of admission.-Lisa Peet, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Matilda
by Roald Dahl

Publishers Weekly : Matilda is an extraordinarily gifted four-year-old whose parentsa crass, dishonest used-car dealer and a self-centered, blowsy bingo addictregard her as ``nothing more than a scab.'' Life with her beastly parents is bearable only because Matilda teaches herself to read, finds the public library, and discovers literature. Also, Matilda loves using her lively intelligence to perpetrate daring acts of revenge on her father. This pastime she further develops when she enrolls in Crunchem Hall Primary School, whose headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is ``a fierce tyrannical monster . . . .'' Adults may cringe at Dahl's excesses in describing the cruel Miss Trunchbull, as well as his reliance on overextended characterization at the expense of plot development. Children, however, with their keenly developed sense of justice, will relish the absolutes of stupidity, greed, evil and might versus intelligence, courage and goodness. They also will sail happily through the contrived, implausible ending. Dahl's phenomenal popularity among children speaks for his breathless storytelling charms; his fans won't be disappointed by Matilda. Blake's droll pen-and-ink sketches extend the exaggerated humor. Ages 9-11.

Copyright 1988 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 4-6 Dahl's latest piece of madcap mayhem is a story filled with the elements that his fans cravesardonic humor, the evilest of villians, the most virtuous of heroines, and children who eventually defeat those big bad grown-ups. In this book, Matilda isn't just smart, she is ``extra-ordinary. . .sensitive and brilliant,'' reading Great Expectations as a four year old. Unfortunately, her TV-addict parents neither recognize nor appreciate their daughter's genius. Neglected Matilda finds mentors in librarian Mrs. Phelps and teacher Miss Honey, a woman as sweet as her name implies. Miss Honey, Matilda, and other students are tormented by the child-hating headmistress Trunchbull. Trunchbull has also cheated orphaned niece Miss Honey out of her rightful inheritance, leaving the teacher in extreme poverty. Having practiced revenge techniques on her father, Matilda now applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of Trunchbull and restore Miss Honey's financial security. If the conclusion is a bit too rapid, the transitions between Matilda's home and school life a bit choppy, and the writing style not as even as in some of Dahl's earlier titles, young readers won't mind. Dahl has written another fun and funny book with a child's perspective on an adult world. As usual, Blake's comical sketches are the perfect complement to the satirical humor. This may not be a teacher's or principal's first choice as a classroom read-aloud, but children will be waiting in line to read it. Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Lib . , Wis.

Copyright 1988 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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