| May 8, 2005

Window dressing the great divide

THE SARI SHOP, by Rupa Bajwa, W.W. Norton Company, 2005, 224 pp., $13.95 (paper). Indian-ness has ceased to be the flavor of the season, or at least that’s what they’ve been saying in Indian publishing circles. One only wishes this were true. The “Indian ...

| Apr 28, 2005

"The Mermaid's Manual," "Frozen Billy"

“The Mermaid’s Manual,” Dawn Applerley, Bloomsbury; 2004; 14 pp. “The Mermaid’s Manual” should be a dream come true for many little girls out there. Its vibrant, glittery jacket has a neat press-button on it, which makes this picture-book look like a handy kit for ...

'Skinny B, Skaz and Me,' 'Ice Drift'

| Apr 7, 2005

"Skinny B, Skaz and Me," "Ice Drift"

“Skinny B, Skaz and Me,” John Singleton, Puffin Books; 2005; 274 pp. It’s been decided: Children’s fiction has been treading the safe territory of witches, wizards and magic for far too long. John Singleton’s gritty novel, “Skinny B, Skaz and Me,” has no time ...

'The Whispering Road,' 'The Pig in the Spigot'

| Mar 10, 2005

"The Whispering Road," "The Pig in the Spigot"

“The Whispering Road,” Livi Michael, Puffin Books; 2005; 336 pp. If you haven’t read Charles Dickens yet, what could be a better introduction than Livi Michael’s “The Whispering Road”? Michael’s first novel for older children imbibes Dickens’ influences, dramatic storytelling and colorful characterization without ...

| Feb 3, 2005

"Pirates!" "Mammalabilia"

“Pirates!” Celia Rees, Bloomsbury; 2004; 296 pp. Celia Rees’s “Pirates!” is a gripping read from page one: It gains on you like Blackbeard’s fearsome pirate ships, takes you hostage, and holds you without mercy till the last page. Her story of two young women ...

| Jan 13, 2005

"The Time Wreccas," "Winnie's Magic Wand"

“The Time Wreccas,” Val Tyler, Puffin Books; 2005; 338 pp. Children’s fiction these days is so all-knowing, so cynical, even, that possibly only a first-time writer can bring back to it the naivete that it has all but lost. Perhaps Val Tyler, author of ...

'How I Live Now,' 'News photo'

| Nov 4, 2004

"How I Live Now," "News photo"

“How I Live Now,” Meg Rosoff, Puffin Books; 2004; 186 pp. When a good writer writes, even if it is their first book, you can “hear” their voice. Here, Meg Rosoff, the author of “How I Live Now,” has none of the angst and ...

'The End of the Beginning,' 'Change Your Room'

| Oct 7, 2004

"The End of the Beginning," "Change Your Room"

“The End of the Beginning,” Avi Harcourt, Dorling Kindersley; 2004; 140 pp. “Hmmmm,” said the ant. “You’ll need a lot of questions answered.” “Might you have the answers?” “Well,” said the ant. “If I don’t have a right answer, at least I’ll have a ...