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

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. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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From the All About America series

Shot through with vague generalities and paired to a mix of equally generic period images and static new art, this overview remorselessly sucks all the juice from its topic.

This survey of the growth of industries in this country from the Colonial period to the post–World War II era is written in the driest of textbook-ese: “Factories needed good transportation so that materials could reach them and so that materials could reach buyers”; “The metal iron is obtained by heating iron ore”; “In 1860, the North said that free men, not slaves, should do the work.” This text is supplemented by a jumble of narrative-overview blocks, boxed side observations and terse captions on each thematic spread. The design is packed with overlapping, misleadingly seamless and rarely differentiated mixes of small, heavily trimmed contemporary prints or (later) photos and drab reconstructions of workshop or factory scenes, along with pictures of significant inventions and technological innovations (which are, in several cases, reduced to background design elements). The single, tiny map has no identifying labels. Other new entries in the All About America series deal similarly with Explorers, Trappers, and Pioneers, A Nation of Immigrants and Stagecoaches and Railroads. Utilitarian, at best—but more likely to dim reader interest than kindle it. (index, timeline, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 8-10)


Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6670-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective.

The author of Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (2004) tells her father’s tale again, for younger readers.

Though using a less personal tone this time and referring to herself in the third person, Robinson still devotes as much attention to his family life, youth and post-baseball career as she does to his achievements on the field. Writing in short sentences and simple language, she presents a clear picture of the era’s racial attitudes and the pressures he faced both in the military service and in baseball—offering plenty of clear reasons to regard him not just as a champion athlete, but as a hero too. An early remark about how he ran with “a bunch of black, Japanese, and Mexican boys” while growing up in Pasadena is insensitively phrased, and a sweeping claim that by 1949 “[t]he racial tension was broken” in baseball is simplistic. Nevertheless, by and large her account covers the bases adequately. The many photos include an admixture of family snapshots, and a closing Q-and-A allows the author to announce the imminent release of a new feature film about Robinson.

It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-54006-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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