Reviews for Binny for Short


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Eleven-year-old Binny, her sister, brother, and mum move into a seaside cottage left to them by (reviled-by-Binny) Aunty Violet. Gareth, the boy next door, becomes Binny's best frenemy, and their final adventure of the summer nearly ends in catastrophe. McKay's masterful control of the mayhem is ingenious. The cartoony art may smooth the way for younger middle-graders challenged by the book's time shifts.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #1
After Dad's death, Binny (short for Belinda) Cornwallis, her sister, her brother, and their mum had no choice but to move to a smaller place. Three years later, eleven-year-old Binny has adjusted seemingly well to the loss of her father, but she's never gotten over the loss of her dog, sent to Granny's when they moved. And she's never forgiven her great-aunt Violet, who took the rambunctious pup from overwhelmed Granny and gave him away. When Aunty Violet dies, the family moves into the seaside cottage she's left them. Gareth, the boy next door, becomes Binny's best frenemy, and the two spend hours together yelling "dare you!"--that is, when he's not busy fighting with his dad and his stepmother-to-be. Binny and Gareth's final adventure of the summer nearly ends in catastrophe, the story of which is meted out in italicized chapters that alternate with the main narrative. The cartoony art, which suits the book's funnier aspects if not the seriousness of the emotion, may smooth the way for younger middle-graders challenged by the book's time shifts. Many of McKay's beloved character-types are here: a child raging at the unfairness of life, another whose eccentricity makes him both maddening and adorable, a kind and incredibly patient older sister. Also here is McKay's self-assured piling-on of disasters, both troubling (three deaths; the loss of a beloved pet; a stolen bike) and comical (Binny's little brother sneaking a chicken into his bedroom; Gareth throwing up on a Brownie troop)--all plunging headlong toward a wondrous, happy ending. McKay's masterful control of the mayhem is ingenious; may the Cornwallis family, like the Conroys and the Cassons before them, have many adventures to come. jennifer m. brabande Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 August #2
"Sometimes stories can save your life," Binny's father once said, and this story could be one of them. Binny's dad died when she was 8, changing the world. The dismal apartments they must live in cannot house her beloved puppy, Max. He goes first to Granny, but when he proves too much for her, Aunty Violet has him "re-homed." At Granny's funeral, Binny rages at Aunty Violet: "You should be dead, not Granny." Two weeks later, she does die, leaving Binny's family a tiny seaside house. Years later, 11-year-old Binny is haunted by the loss of Max and her memories of Aunty Violet. She engages in warfare with her "enemy" Gareth, the boy next door, who is haunted too. The tale moves back and forth from the climactic scene, set in italics, to the leisurely, absorbing setup. Readers meet Binny's loving, overstressed mother; her older sister, musician Clemency; and 6-year-old James, whose signature line is "Hello, don't kiss me!" Binny and Gareth fight some very big demons every child will recognize, and readers will rejoice when both find a way to vanquish them, individually and together. The writing is gorgeous, clear as water; the characters vivid and lively; the story so real each moment of loss, fear, delight and love absolutely visceral. (Fiction. 8-14) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #4

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 8-12. (July)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

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 8-12. (July)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 November

Gr 5-8--After her father's death, 11-year-old Binny and her bereaved family find themselves in the house of a deceased relative in a seaside town. There the child becomes fast enemies with the boy next door, yearns for a long-lost dog, crushes on an older boy, and eventually-through a drawn-out pivotal scene interspersed throughout the primary narrative-comes to accept the grief she's been denying herself. The meaning of friendship and loss underlies what otherwise comes across as a fairly light summer beach novel, peopled with loving and quirky characters who get into similarly sweet and innocent scrapes. Although the complex backstory weighs down the start of the book, McKay keeps the rest from flagging by continuously jumping from one short scene to another, some of which are rip-roaringly funny. Odd and unnecessary childish illustrations of enormous-eyed characters caught in overly emotional states make an awkward juxtaposition with McKay's heartfelt and earnest writing. Binny is wonderfully fun and easy to relate to. Give this one to fans of Jeanne Birdsall's "Penderwicks" (Knopf) and McKay's earlier novels.--Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

[Page 101]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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