BORIS

With characteristic sensitivity, Rylant addresses one of her cats in a set of conversational free-verse poems—recalling the day she brought him and his sister home from the humane shelter, warning him about predatory eagles, congratulating him on bonding rather than battling with a new neighbor’s cat and on surviving a solitary jaunt into the surrounding woods. She uses these and other incidents to reflect on parallels in her own life: “we are like you, Boris. / We are outside cats / and proud of it / until the first big drop / of rain hits out noses. . . . ” Though subtler and more understated than Dave Crawley’s Cat Poems, (see above) neither the language nor the insights here should present challenges for readers, even younger or less practiced ones. (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-15-205412-X

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

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FEARLESS FERNIE

HANGING OUT WITH FERNIE AND ME

Capable as ever of making common childhood experiences marvelous, Soto (Baseball in April, 2000, etc.) poetically delineates a fast friendship between a never-named observer and his irrepressible buddy Fernie. Given to sudden flights of imagination, the writer opens with an image of the two as infants, “both as bald as plucked chickens and clucking like chickens” and finishes with a rapturous bout of snow-eating (“Then, wow, an elephant from nowhere arrived / To hose up his share of the snow”). In between, along with some solitary moments, he records Fernie’s exuberant dance with a broom, the time he put 100 candles on a birthday cake, missed ten pop flies in one game, tried to pound a nail in with a baseball bat, and more. Gathering various elements from each poem into postmodern, expressionistic scenes, Dunnick captures the poet’s gloomy moods better than the more joyous ones, but Soto’s conversational, seemingly artless writing will draw young readers, poetry fans or not, into the world, and the heads, of these two everylads. (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23615-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

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TRIAL BY ICE

A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON

Kostyal has written a tight, bracing biography of the renowned Antarctic explorer, illustrated with dramatic black-and-white photographs. Shackleton, a man whose sense of romance and adventure repeatedly drew him from conventional British society to Antarctica (“that lonely, windswept desert of ice and snow at the bottom of the world”), succeeded neither in reaching the South Pole nor traversing the continent, but he exhibited such remarkable valor that, according to the author, his name has become “synonymous with bravery and endurance.” As usual, there is more about his expeditions than the man, but Kostyal renders the tale in vivid prose that is enhanced by maps, quotes, a timeline and some remarkable photographs. This quality book will be a useful addition in both home and school libraries. (map, chronology, index) (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7922-7393-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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