Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon is not just for middle graders any more—with these two volumes, Danziger and Ross introduce th"/>

IT'S JUSTIN TIME, AMBER BROWN; WHAT A TRIP, AMBER BROWN

Paula Danziger, Author, Tony Ross, Illustrator IT'S JUSTIN TIME, AMBER BROWN; WHAT A TRIP, AMBER BROWN $12.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-399-23470-5 ISBN 0-399-23469-1

The feisty series inaugurated in Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon is not just for middle graders any more—with these two volumes, Danziger and Ross introduce their winning heroine to beginning readers as well. Making Amber younger and showing the Brown family before divorce, Danziger simplifies her prose style without reducing her energy. She keeps several story lines moving, and she invigorates them with her characteristic love of puns and her kid-targeted sense of humor. In Justin Time, for example, which opens on the eve of Amber's birthday, she agitates for a watch ("I, Amber Brown, am one very excited six-year, 364-day-old kid"); she also tries to come to terms with her best friend's perpetual tardiness (the friend is Justin Daniels, who moves away in Crayon). In Trip, the Browns and the Daniels vacation together in the Poconos, during the course of which Justin hurts Amber's feelings, a business phone call during a dad-supervised outdoor sleepover annoys Amber, and Justin's left-out little brother finds a way to be included. The emotions are real and recognizable, and Amber's first-person narration makes even obvious jokes seem spontaneous (such as a riff on Poconos/"poke a nose"). Ross brings extra verve to his contributions. In Justin Time, for example, as Amber tells her stuffed-toy gorilla about the gift she wants, Ross shows her drawing a watch onto the gorilla's wrist. In aiming for a younger audience, Danziger and Ross have kept their standards just as high. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/12/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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