A loud, cynical cash grab—far from amazing.

THE AMAZING BOOK IS NOT ON FIRE

THE WORLD OF DAN AND PHIL

A couple more YouTube stars write a book.

Howell, who goes by "danisnotonfire," and "AmazingPhil" Lester are the latest YouTube stars hoping to cross over to the world of books. Instead of crafting a memoir or adapting their videos into a fictional series, the duo have filled these 225 pages with bold graphics, scatological humor, and quirky how tos that may entice their fan base but will leave everyone else out in the cold. It contains a wide variety of nonsense, ranging from Phil's chat logs to information on breeding hamsters. There's an emoji-only interview and some Dan/Phil fanfiction (by Howell rather than a fan) and even a full double-page spread of the pair's unsuccessful selfies. All this miscellany is shoveled in without much rhyme or reason following introductory pages that clearly introduce the pair as children, leaving readers who aren't in on the joke completely out of the loop. The authors make no attempt to bring in those on the outside, but in all honesty, why should they? The only people buying this book are kids who already love everything Dan and Phil do or clueless relatives in desperate search of a gift for the awkward teens in their lives. The book's biggest fault is its apparent laziness. It feels like something slapped together over a weekend, with no heart or soul.   

A loud, cynical cash grab—far from amazing. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-93984-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2015

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An engrossing, dramatic account of courage and tragedy from the Age of Discovery.

MAGELLAN

OVER THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Bergreen ably adapts his book for adults Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (2003) into a gripping and harrowing true adventure story for young readers.

Magellan is portrayed as a completely fearless, often reckless opportunist who had an uncanny ability to make powerful enemies and earn the enmity of his crew. Outsized ambitions led him to abandon his native Portugal for the chance to command an expedition for archrival Spain, which made him commander of the largest and best-equipped expedition of the time to find the fabled Spice Islands and claim the lands he found along the way for Spain and the Catholic Church. Surviving near-constant mutinies, treacherous sailing conditions, and frequent threats of starvation, Magellan brought his expedition as far as the Philippines, where he was killed in a confrontation with the inhabitants of Cebu. Though Magellan’s armada went on to the Spice Islands without him, further tragedies reduced the fleet of five ships and 260 sailors to a single battered vessel with 18 survivors that returned to Spain. Bergreen recounts in vivid and grisly detail the wretched conditions the crews of the ships had to endure, skillfully explaining the complicated geopolitics of the era and the historical import of the expedition.

An engrossing, dramatic account of courage and tragedy from the Age of Discovery. (maps, charts, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-120-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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Readers will marvel at Biyarslanov’s resilience and pluck.

NEXT ROUND

A YOUNG ATHLETE'S JOURNEY TO GOLD

No one chooses to be a refugee from a war-torn homeland, but if that is the hand you are dealt, try Arthur Biyarslanov’s approach.

Biyarslanov was born in Chechnya in 1995, as Chechen separatists waged their grindingly endless civil war against Russia. When he was 3, the family headed south to Azerbaijan. Spray captures little glimpses of Arthur’s young life—stealing fruit from the tree of his next-door neighbor and the old lady who gives him a talisman (a dog biscuit) to ward off jinni—as well as the sadness, lack of language, deprivation, and fear. The story here is of Arthur’s gradual rise in the world of sports, first in Azerbaijan and then after the family moved to Toronto, Canada. Spray conjures the strange settings refugees and immigrants find themselves in. “Hey little man, whatchoo lookin’ at anyhow?” asks a tall Jamaican teenage neighbor when Arthur lands in Toronto’s St. James Town projects. “I am no to English,” Arthur replies. “All be cool. I be no English too...is no big thang.” (Dialogue is not specifically sourced, but a teeny note on the copyright page indicates that Spray relies on extensive interviews.) Arthur is a whiz at soccer but chooses boxing, where he is even whizzier, rising from his first real bout at 12 to the Canadian Olympic team.

Readers will marvel at Biyarslanov’s resilience and pluck. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77278-003-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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