Synopses & Reviews
Custodial Wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down in her top-secret silver notebook. Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Unplug cords as soon as you are done using them.
School is about to start and Mattie has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his Custodial Apprentice. After all, although Potluck is full of expertise (and funny stories), what busy school custodian can't use a little extra help? Better yet, her apprentice job can keep Mattie tucked out of sight in the basement office and out of her new classroom. Away from a class full of fifth-graders who will stare at the silent new girl. Shy
, some will say. Stuck up,
others will whisper. No way will Mattie open her mouth. And no way will she share the contents of her notebook.
Yet Mattie's plan comes crashing down one day when her Custodial Wisdom goes all wrong. Quincy Sweet, visiting next door, threatens the plan, too. And Mama doesn't help. But little by little, everything going wrong might begin to show Mattie what's rightabout sharing a part of herself. About doing one small, brave thing. About making a friend she can trust with her secretsa friend who is hound dog true.
"Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect) traces a highly self-conscious child's cautious emergence from her shell in this tender novel about new beginnings and 'small brave' acts. Fifth grader Mattie Breen doesn't share her mother's eagerness to pick up stakes whenever 'the going gets tough.' Mattie hates starting over at unfamiliar schools, but when her mother announces they will be living with Uncle Potluck, Mattie feels hopeful, for once. Uncle Potluck tells funny, larger-than-life stories the kind of stories Mattie likes to write, but is embarrassed to share with others. Mattie hopes that Uncle Potluck will make her his 'custodial apprentice' at the school where he works (and which she'll attend) and that this time she'll finally find a 'true, tell-your-secrets-to' friend. Urban's understated, borderline naÃ¯f narrative gives voice to Mattie's many uncertainties ('Always Mattie has been shy. Always school had made her feel skittish and small') while expressing the quiet yet significant moments in her day-to-day life. Mattie's growing trust of others and her attempts to be 'bold and friendly' lead to gratifying rewards for Mattie and poignant moments for readers. Ages 9 12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"This outstanding, emotionally resonant effort will appeal to middle-grade readers."—Kirkus, starred review
* "This outstanding, emotionally resonant effort will appeal to middle-grade readers."—Kirkus, starred review
* "Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect) traces a highly self-conscious child's cautious emergence from her shell in this tender novel about new beginnings and "small brave" acts... Urban's understated, borderline naïf narrative gives voice to Mattie's many uncertainties ("Always Mattie has been shy. Always school had made her feel skittish and small") while expressing the quiet yet significant moments in her day-to-day life. Mattie's growing trust of others and her attempts to be "bold and friendly" lead to gratifying rewards for Mattie and poignant moments for readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Internal drama, compelling characters, and Matties strong voice propel the story of learning to do "a small brave thing."—Booklist
* "There are many books that offer adventure and twists and unusual story lines. Most of them do not offer young readers such fine writing and real characters. That is hook enough."—School Library Journal, starred review
"Urban unfurls the gentle and#8216;be true to yourselfand#8217; moral perfectly, with plenty of funny dialogue, overplayed reaction and the enduring appeal of the tiny hero. Coleand#8217;s terrific watercolors reflect Mouseand#8217;s emotional growth in spreads and spots brimming with movement. Who knew standing still could be so dramatic? Well-pitched for preschoolers just learning social skills, this would be equally excellent for family reading, classrooms and storytimes."--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review and#160; and#8220;Through playful language and expressive watercolors with colored pencil and ink, this story about anger management proves to be both entertaining and therapeutic. . . . Mouse finds his own way through his ire and, in the process, may help a few youngsters get a handle on their own.and#8221;and#8212;School Library Journal
"The basics of economics take backseat to Evan and Jessie's realizations about themselves and their relationship. Davis . . . does a good job of showing the siblings' strengths, flaws, and points of view in this engaging chapter book." —Booklist,
"A clever blend of humor, math fun and savvy marketing tips, it subtly explores how arguments can escalate." —New York Post
"[A] straightforward plot...teaches an important lesson on sibling relationships." —The Washington Times
"[T]his compelling tale about growing up and getting along is appealing and engaging." —Book Links, ALA
A story about small acts of courage from the author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect. Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potlucks apprentice, shell have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth graders. But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Matties plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.
Who knows the best way to be mad? Bear stomps. Hare hops. Bobcat screams. Mouse? He just can't get it right. But when he finds the way that works for him--still and quiet--he discovers that his own way might be the best of all.
Linda Urban's story about self-expression is both sweet and sly, and Henry Cole's cast of animal friends is simply irresistible.
Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience's applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she'll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall.
But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe's dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn't the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn't the only part of Zoe's life in Michigan that's off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day.
Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises--and that perfection may be even better when it's just a little off center.
Acclaimed author Linda Urban captures the sweet humor and tenderness of finding one's voice and making a friend, even when that seems impossible.
Who knows the best way to be mad? Bear stomps. Hare hops. Bobcat screams. Mouse? He just can't get it right. But when he finds the way that works for him--still and quiet--he discovers his own way might be the best of all.and#160; A light-hearted exploration of how to manage anger from the critically acclaimed author and illustrator duo of Urban and Cole.
Linda Urban's irresistible debut novel, full of warmth and sass, about ten-year-old Zoe Elias, who has perfect piano dreams but a life that's a little off-kilter.
Evan Treski is people-smart. He is good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart—but not especially good at understanding people. She knows that feelings are her weakest subject. So when their lemonade war begins, there really is no telling who will win—and even more important, if their fight will ever end.
Here is a clever blend of humor and math fun. As it captures the one-of-a-kind bond between brother and sister, this poignant novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyones intent.
For a full hour, he poured lemonade. The world is a thirsty place, he thought as he nearly emptied his fourth pitcher of the day.
And I am the Lemonade King.
Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. Hes good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyones intent.
Awards: 2009 Rhode Island Children's Book Award, 2007 New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, North Carolina Childrens Book Award 2011, 2011 Nutmeg Award (Connecticut)
Check out www.lemonadewar.com for more information on The Lemonade War Series, including sequels The Lemonade Crime, The Bell Bandit, and The Candy Smash.
About the Author
Linda Urban's debut novel, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, was a BookSense pick, a New York Public Library Best Book for Reading and Sharing, and was nominated for twenty state awards. A former independent bookseller at Vroman's in Pasadena, California, she now writes full time in Montpelier, Vermont, where she lives with her family. Visit her website at www.lindaurbanbooks.com