THE LADY OF SHALOTT

Côté’s illustrations catch the haunting tone of Tennyson’s Arthurian lyric, while adding several original touches. Weaving “a magic web of colours gay,” the Lady lives in happy isolation in a tower until she catches a glimpse of Lancelot—activating a curse that sends her lifeless body drifting downriver to Camelot. In the sketchy, modernist art, medieval passersby mix with more contemporary ones on the road below Shalott, traveling toward Camelot’s high-rise skyline by horse or automobile. And Lancelot cuts a stylish figure, wearing a long duster rather than armor, and goggles pushed up on a plumed hat. Côté also adds a brighter ending: After Lancelot’s closing observation that, even in death, “she has a lovely face,” a small figure rises on butterfly wings over the city. A classic poem, in an unconventional but sensitive and suitable setting. Includes long notes on poem and illustrator. (Poetry. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-55337-874-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of.

SCARED STIFF

50 PHOBIAS THAT FREAK US OUT

Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture.

The book opens with a clinical psychologist’s foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta’s alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons (“koumpounophobia”) and being out of cellphone contact (“nomophobia”) to more widespread fears of heights (“acrophobia”), clowns (“coulroiphobia”) and various animals. There’s also the generalized “social anxiety disorder”—which has no medical name but is “just its own bad self.” As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on “joke phobias” and other topics. At each entry’s end, she contributes a box of “Scare Quotes” such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons.

Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-49-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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JAM!

THE STORY OF JAZZ MUSIC

A busy page design—artily superimposed text and photos, tinted portraits, and break-out boxes—and occasionally infelicitous writing (“Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie became . . . bandleader of the quintet at the Onyx Club, from which bebop got its name”) give this quick history of jazz a slapdash air, but Lee delves relatively deeply into the music’s direct and indirect African roots, then goes beyond the usual tedious tally of names to present a coherent picture of specific influences and innovations associated with the biggest names in jazz. A highly selective discography will give readers who want to become listeners a jump start; those seeking more background will want to follow this up with James Lincoln Collier’s Jazz (1997). (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8239-1852-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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