Mild amusement for armchair travelers, offering (as the intro puts it) “all of the adventure with none of the...

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SURVIVE-O-PEDIA

From “Airplane Crashes” to “Whitewater” and “Woods,” an alphabetical tally of hazardous situations with (usually) a few coping strategies.

The sixth “Junior Edition” in the Worst Case Scenario franchise gathers abbreviated or rewritten versions of 63 natural hazards covered in the adult volumes but probably new to the intended audience. Each gets a spread of photos and lighthearted cartoons of young folk in extremis, which accompany briefly described scenarios, background explanations, general safety tips and common-sense behaviors. Not much of all this is intended to be seriously helpful—for one thing, the format doesn’t lend itself to quick reference, and for another, the likelihood of any readers running with the bulls in Pamplona, surviving an asteroid collision or encountering a gorilla in the wild is low. Furthermore, victims of sudden amnesia are advised not to seek medical help but just wait, as it’ll go away in 24 hours, a method of cracking open coconuts with a pointed stick is actively dangerous and the only suggested strategy for dealing with killer whales is to “keep your distance.”

Mild amusement for armchair travelers, offering (as the intro puts it) “all of the adventure with none of the stitches.” (Browsing item. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7690-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A killer thriller.

THREE HOURS IN PARIS

Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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WHAT IT'S LIKE TO CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST, BLAST OFF INTO SPACE, SURVIVE A TORNADO, AND OTHER EXTRAORDINARY STORIES

A prolific reporter of paranormal phenomena strains to bring that same sense of wonder to 12 “transposed”—that is, paraphrased from interviews but related in first person—accounts of extraordinary experiences. Some feats are more memorable than others; compared to Bethany Hamilton’s return to competitive surfing after having her arm bitten off by a shark and Mark Inglis’ climb to the top of Mount Everest on two prosthetic legs, Joe Hurley’s nine-month walk from Cape Cod to Long Beach, Calif., is anticlimactic. Dean Karnazes hardly seems to be exerting himself as he runs 50 marathons on 50 consecutive days, and the comments of an Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and a military Surgeon’s Assistant in Iraq come off as carefully bland. The survivors of a hurricane at sea, a lightning strike and a tornado, on the other hand, tell more compelling stories. Most of the color photos are at least marginally relevant, and each entry closes with a short note on its subject’s subsequent activities. Casual browsers will be drawn to at least some of the reconstructed narratives in this uneven collection. A reading list would have been more useful than the superfluous index, though. Fun, in a scattershot sort of way. (Nonfiction browsing item. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4027-6711-1

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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