cover image Binny for Short

Binny for Short

Hilary McKay, illus. by Micah Player. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8275-3

Fans of McKay's Casson books will warmly welcome the delightful and eccentric Cornwallis family, who move into a seaside cottage bequeathed to them by cranky Aunty Violet. Though the family has been penniless and has shuffled from one cramped apartment to another since Mr. Cornwallis's death, 11-year-old Binny balks at living in the house because the late Violet gave away Binny's beloved dog. Binny's deceased nemesis, with whom she has imaginary conversations, becomes an unlikely catalyst for the girl's salvation; after the move, Binny finds much-needed friends in the angry, lonely boy next door; a handsome older boy who lets her join the crew on his boat; and Kate, a kindly cafe owner. While Binny's engaging relationships with these characters is a bonus, the humorous and poignant interactions among Binny's caring older sister, independent younger brother, and insightful mother are the heart of the novel. Player's brassy b&w illustrations sit a bit oddly against McKay's elegant and often dreamlike prose, but it's a minor off note in a well-crafted story that balances moments of hilarity with poignancy. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (July)