by Joan Bauer
is 12 years old and the tallest kid ever in his school: 6-foot-3 and still growing.
He's a pretty intelligent and sensible guy and he copes by helping people, like
his wonderful grandpa, a Vietnam vet who's just had a leg amputated. But still,
being tall leads to problems. Coaches always expect him to be good at sports,
even though he tries to explain, "I'm not real athletic." When he meets
the father of Sophie, the independent-minded new girl at school, he has to show
his birth certificate to prove he's not much older. "I'm tall for my age,"
says Tree. "You're tall for my age," says Sophie's suspicious father.
And dance lessons--! Well, they're a nightmare, especially the tango, where he
and Sophie have to replace hand-in-hand with hand-in-elbow, and cheek-to-cheek
the thing that really makes Tree's life complicated is not his size but his parents'
recent divorce. They have joint custody, so Tree has to divide his life, and he's
always needing something he left at the other house. Then disaster strikes,
and Tree proves that he has courage to match his size.
Bauer's great heart and dry wit is always a delight, especially in Hope Was
Here and Rules of the Road. In Stand Tall she gives us wonderfully
interesting characters, funny scenes, zingy lines, and a story that has something
warm and beautiful to say to kids. (Ages 10 to 14)
Sands of Time: A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure
by Michael Hoeye, Dale Champlin
Fresh from his first adventure (Time Stops for No Mouse), Hermux Tantamoq, watchmaker, amateur sleuth and intrepid mouse about town, finds himself drawn into another intrigue when his artist friend Mirrin Stentrill's exhibit of cat paintings incites a riot. Long presumed to be mythical creatures by the urbane small rodent population of Pinchester, cats are a taboo subject. No one knows that better than Mirrin's old chipmunk flame, Birch Tentintrotter, who was run out of town decades ago when he deciphered an ancient map to the kingdom of cats. He reappears unexpectedly with another old scroll, and mouse history may never be the same. "We're going to discover once and for all if cats actually existed or this has just been a horrible hoax," Mirrin determines. Soon they are off, with the odious playboy scholar (and revisionist historian) Hinkum Stepfitchler III and his fiance, hilariously self-serving cosmetics millionaire Tucka Mertslin, on their collective tails. Birch, Hermux and the mouse of his dreams the lovely aviatrix Linka Perflinger race to find the ancient tomb of Ka-Narsh-Pah, and its cat-and-mouse secrets. Hoeye's galloping plot, evocative descriptions ("The papyrus was the bleached yellow of September hay") and exuberantly sophisticated wit ("Tucka was happy. She loved rich people. They were so much fun. They were so full of life. And they had so much money!") keep the pages rapidly turning. Ages 12-up.