Friday, March 2, 2012

A Review of Holiday House, Part III

    I have selected 3 books published by Holiday House, Inc. from my local library. All three are fiction chapter books. The third book I am reviewing is NORA AND THE TEXAS TERROR by Judy Cox and illustrated by Amanda Haley.

NORA AND THE TEXAS TERROR is about a girl named Nora whose family welcomes relatives to stay in her home until they find work.  Nora finds sharing her room with Ellie, the Texas terror, impossible to live with until her teacher forces Nora and Ellie to work on a project together.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2283-8
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Holiday House
  The story was entertaining.  Excellent economy of words.  The story flowed smoothly.  I also liked the illustrations by Haley.  They are in black and white and are reminiscent of Steve Bjorkman's illustrations in the original ALIENS FOR BREAKFAST.
None. The story and illustrations were very good. 

Publishing Errors:
The binding was loose on a book that looked fairly new.  I was hoping the librarian would be able to glue the pages in, but she said no.  It would be discarded.  She couldn't get a replacement, because it had already been more than a year since the library had received it.  She said some publishers are trying to cut costs and so purchase cheaper glue.
Kirkus Review 
                 ...Realistic situations coupled with modern economic problems make this a familiar story for today’s young readers. Humorous black-and-white drawings pepper the story, deepening understanding. Fans of Johanna Hurwitz and Beverly Cleary will embrace these two modern cousins. (Fiction. 6-9)
Children's Literature
                 ...Cox does an admirable job of bringing a story about economic hard times down to kid-level by focusing on the tension that grows between Nora and her very different cousin Ellie. The situation—a windstorm, a missing little brother and a haunted house—that lead the girls to resolve their conflict with each other feels contrived and the explanation of why Nora's teacher insists that she and Ellie have the same name is unnecessarily drawn out. Overall, though, characters are engaging and this is a believable story about coping and dealing with differences during difficult financial times. The drawings are on the cartoonish side for the serious topic but perhaps this is intentional. Reviewer: Margaret Orto

School Library Journal
                Gr 2–3—... The slight subplots of a haunted house and an ancestor project may not be enough to hold readers' interest, though this easy chapter book does pick up in the final quarter. Cartoon illustrations don't complement the story, which is more serious than humorous. This book would be most useful as bibliotherapy for children whose families are having financial difficulties.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

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