The historical narrative is of mild interest, but the incorporated toy is off-target in several ways.

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THE MOST DANGEROUS BOOK

AN ILLUSTRATED INTRODUCTION TO ARCHERY

A historical overview of archery with a cut-in grip and sturdy plastic wings that unfold to form an actual bow—punch-out cardboard arrows and targets included.

Nayeri opens what he optimistically calls his “weapon of mass instruction” by arguing—rightly, if not exactly cogently—that a bow-shaped book is less dangerous than a bad or careless idea. He continues with a worldwide survey of archery in, mostly, war from ancient times on. Along with cartoon portraits of single archers and battle scenes featuring comically pin-cushioned soldiers, all diverse of skin color and in period dress, Jung adds simple depictions of various types of bows and arrows from many lands and eras. Following a final chapter on Robin Hood and other archers of both myth and legend, 43 blunt, lightweight, detachable arrows, each about 1 ½ inches long, and 10 chicken butts or other small targets of diminishing size offer would-be Katniss Everdeens immediate opportunities to develop their skills on a tabletop or similarly confined range. But as the author admits, this is more a slingshot than a true bow, as the recurved arms don’t actually bend, and all of the propulsive force is provided by the elastic string. Also, enterprising young felons will doubtless ignore his prohibition against shooting at live targets, so even though the “draw” is (probably) too weak to actually drive the provided missiles into, say, an eyeball, there is still some small potential for mayhem.

The historical narrative is of mild interest, but the incorporated toy is off-target in several ways. (bibliography) (Informational novelty. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0119-9

Page Count: 89

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the...

MARCEL MARCEAU

MASTER OF MIME

The legendary mime is introduced to a new generation, though not entirely successfully.

As a child, Marceau loved to silently entertain his friends, like his idol, Charlie Chaplin. During the Nazi occupation of France, Marcel and his brother took on new identities in the French Underground, where they forged documents for Jewish children and helped many to escape to Switzerland. Spielman assumes that her young audience will understand references to deportation and concentration camps; unfortunately for those that don't, her matter-of-fact tone speaks more of adventure than deadly peril. Her tone subtly changes when she lovingly describes Marceau’s training and development as a mime and his stage persona of Bip the clown, admiring his skills in the “art of silence” that won him international renown. But here too, comparisons to the Little Tramp and Pierrot may be outside readers’ frame of reference. Though the illustrations carefully complement the textual content with period details, Gauthier’s cartoon faces are all nearly identical, with only the screen image of Chaplin and Marceau’s Bip having distinctive features. A double-page spread at the conclusion provides photographs of Bip in action and is the only clear indication of Marceau’s stagecraft.

At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the book looks elsewhere. (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-3961-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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Lively, lucid, and timely.

WHEN YOU GROW UP TO VOTE

HOW OUR GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR YOU

Updated for a modern audience, the pre-eminent first lady’s views on what government is and does and why having a voice in it all matters.

The female and nonwhite firefighters, garbage collectors, public officials, and jurors in Lin’s bright, racially and gender-diverse illustrations—not to mention references in the narrative to calling 911, to “alderpersons,” and “selectpeople”—were likely not in the original 1932 edition. It’s easy, though, to hear Roosevelt, or at least her voice, in the pellucid descriptions of how local, state, and national governments are organized and the kinds of services they are charged with providing, both in the common-sense tone (“What seems good to you might not be good for the rest of the nation”) and in the inspirational message: “Marking your ballot is one of the most important—and exciting—things you’ll ever do.” Also at least partly new are descriptive notes about each amendment to the Constitution and each position in contemporary presidents’ cabinets, plus an eye-opening explanation of how electoral results can be manipulated through gerrymandering (using “blue” and “purple” voters as examples). Further comments by Roosevelt on citizenship and a brief biography focusing on her causes and character lead in to a short but choice set of more detailed sources of information about her life and work.

Lively, lucid, and timely. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-879-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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