Since there doesn't seem to be another biography of Tolkien for young readers, this pedestrian venture will probably be useful. Collins presents the life in orderly fashion, dwelling at length on the Oxford philologist's childhood (he was orphaned early), then focusing on the writing and publication of his fantasy, almost to the exclusion of his academic career; his groundbreaking work and the high esteem in which it is still held are not even mentioned. Despite a chapter entitled ``A Spark Ignites,'' the fascination for language and mythology that was the source of the beloved stories isn't really conveyed here. There are b&w photos (the man, his homes, his haunts; period shots, including some from WW I), plus a great many truly dreadful drawings that seem to be intended to represent Middle Earth—a few pained-looking hobbits and a plethora of clumsily drawn orcs and goblins. Chronology; glossary; bibliography; index. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 8, 1992

ISBN: 0-8225-4906-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992


One of the great pitchers in baseball history (and one of the most outspoken and disagreeable), Gibson recalls his storied career with the capable help of Wheeler (I Had a Hammer, not reviewed) and shows he's not done being ``difficult.'' A ferocious competitor who made his living pitching high and tight, Gibson had a reputation throughout his 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals for being just as uncompromising and angry off the field, especially concerning racial matters. Gibson was raised in an Omaha, Nebr., housing project, where his older brother was hero, mentor, and coach. After college, Gibson, who claims that he was better at basketball than baseball, signed a contract with both the Cardinals and the Harlem Globetrotters, playing one year for the latter. He calls his first professional baseball manager, Johnny Keane, ``the closest thing to a saint that I came across in baseball.'' When Keane replaced Solly Hemus (whom Gibson despised) in 1961, it turned the Cardinals', and Gibson's, fortunes around. Known for his extraordinary performances in the postseason, Gibson had a World Series record of 7-2, with a 1.89 ERA and an incredible 92 strikeouts over 81 innings. He won 20 games in five different seasons and in 1968 posted a 1.12 ERA in 305 innings. Gibson offers some fun and insightful recollections of big games, friends, and teammates such as Tim McCarver, Joe Torre, and Bob Uecker, and legendary matchups with Juan Marichal (``the best pitcher of my generation''), Sandy Koufax, and Don Drysdale. Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, Gibson claims he's been ostracized from the game and hasn't held a baseball job since 1984. Though he grouses a lot about being slighted by major league baseball and rehashes all-too-familiar racial difficulties, it is refreshing to get the fiery Gibson's take on the grand old game. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 75,000; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-84794-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1994


paper 0-8225-9684-9 Late bloomers will take heart in this tale of a classic underachiever who went on to make popular, record-breaking films. Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars series and other movies, just barely graduated from high school. As a youth, he dreamed of becoming a race car driver, but after being badly injured in a collision he began “filming cars instead of racing them.” Following a stint at the University of South California’s film school, Lucas, in his various capacities as writer, producer and director, piled up the series of successes for which he is known, and changed “the film industry by uniting entertainment, business and technology” in the process. The section on how Lucas got the ideas for Star Wars, and its subsequent incarnations—e.g., the first two drafts never mentioned “the Force,”—will fascinate fans and casual movie-goers alike. White is admiring, characterizing Lucas variously and vaguely as “complicated,” “intriguing,” “intelligent,” “humble,” and “intensely private.” That Lucas is driven is clear, but readers will close the book—which ends before the opening of The Phantom Menace in the spring of 1999—knowing more about his career than his soul. (photos, notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 1999

ISBN: 0-8225-4975-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999