FISHING

In the America at Work series, Drake and Love (Forestry, 1998, etc.) offer an overview of two US fisheries, one in Maine and the other in Alaska, as experienced through the eyes of a young girl, Jessie, who travels from her Alaska home to visit her Down East grandfather. The principal catch in each locale is salmon, but the text explains that past fishing practices have radically altered traditional methods of harvest. Heavy over-fishing has reduced the Maine salmon fishery to fish farming, which is what Jessie’s grandfather introduces her to. He takes her through the process of raising salmon, and also shows her experimental work in raising halibut. When Jessie returns home, her father, who is state fisheries officer, talks to her about the wild salmon fisheries still found in Alaska, and the ideal elements necessary for prime fish habitat. It is his job to protect that habitat and insure the salmon are not over-harvested as they were on the East Coast. Although the tone of the book is wincingly didactic, for the most part the information is doled out in manageable quantities, and the crystal-clear, full-color artwork leaves no doubt about the difference between a gillnetter and a seiner, a trawler and a longliner. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55074-457-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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THIS IS SOCCER

As two young teams face off, a spare, staccato text relates the ever-changing action on the soccer field. Blackstone starts with the basics: “This is a soccer ball. This is a cleat. And this is a soccer player.” Next, she emphasizes the fancy footwork involved and introduces the teams. Then comes the kickoff, and some “running and jumping, bumping and sliding, . . . dribble, pass, pass, dribble, faster, faster, dribble, pass—KICK! This is an overhead shot.” With a potential goal, the goalie launches himself into space trying to catch the ball, the crowd goes wild, and the ball lands in the net. Blackstone (This Is Maine, 1995, etc.) emphasizes that there’s always more shooting than scoring in soccer; sometimes the final score is “zero to zero.” O’Brien’s illustrations capture the feeling of full-tilt playing, showing quick turns and sudden stops, moving in for close-ups and backing up for a distant pan of the whole field. In a humorous visual subplot, an unperturbed fan sets out his lawn chair on the title page and sleeps through the entire game. It’s a bonus in an already inviting introduction to the fast-paced and fleet-footed game of soccer. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-2801-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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DIRT ON THEIR SKIRTS

THE STORY OF THE YOUNG WOMEN WHO WON THE WORLD OF CHAMPIONSHIP

During WWII, as men went overseas, women assumed many of their jobs; Rappaport and Callan enthusiastically invent a fictional witness to that historical moment when baseball, too, was taken over by women. Two teams from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the Rockford Peaches and the Racine Belles, are vying for the 1946 championship. It’s the bottom of the 14th and the score is 0-0. In the stands, Margaret’s father, having just returned from fighting overseas, has joined his family for this final game of the season. As the last inning unfolds, Margaret, shouting and cheering, can hardly wait until she’s old enough to join this group of talented women. While the Belles joyously celebrate their victory on the field, Margaret proudly recalls her mother’s words, “You do have to be tough to play baseball in a skirt.” The text benefits from Lewis’s full-page watercolors, which range from the antic and expressive to exquisitely solemn with tension. Curiously missing from the historical notes is any reference to the popular film, A League of Their Own, which first revived interest in the league. That doesn’t detract from a book that reminds readers not to restrict their dreams on the basis of gender. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8037-2042-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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