An ebullient collection of stunning comebacks, awesome athletes, and achievements both grand and dubious.

WHO GOT GAME?

BASEBALL: AMAZING BUT TRUE STORIES!

A fizzy compendium of baseball feats, firsts, and lore from Newbery Honoree and Kirkus Prize winner Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017).

Although Barnes doesn’t really stick to the “unheralded figures and untold stories” he says he’ll highlight, still he does tuck some less-heralded hijinks and heroes into an anecdotal rush that captures the “joy and wonderment that is baseball.” So, along with tributes to the likes of Satchel Paige and Negro Leagues founder Rube Foster, he tips a cap to Ozzie Vergil, the first Dominican major leaguer; slugger Hank Greenberg, the “Hebrew Hammer”; “Tommy John” surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe; and four African Americans who played professionally before Jackie Robinson. Not to mention a nine-inning, 49-run game and another that went 33 innings. In formal, neatly drawn cartoons, Bajet tones down some of the wilder incidents, giving his subjects—even mascots—dignified presences and, usually, welcoming smiles. Fans budding or confirmed will need to look elsewhere for an organized baseball history or highlights reel, but they will come away feeling as if they’d sat in the bleachers with a true enthusiast who’s helped them earn “some idea of how much of a challenge it was for players of color, players from outside the United States, and for women to be part of this beautiful game.”

An ebullient collection of stunning comebacks, awesome athletes, and achievements both grand and dubious. (bibliography, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0553-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Nothing to roar over but a pleaser for fans of all things big, toothy, and extinct.

PREHISTORIC

DINOSAURS, MEGALODONS, AND OTHER FASCINATING CREATURES OF THE DEEP PAST

An illustrated overview of life’s history on Earth, moving backward from now to its beginnings 3.5 billion years ago.

Zoehfeld begins with the present epoch, using the unofficial Anthropocene moniker, then skips back 12,000 years to the beginning of the Holocene and so back by periods to the Ediacaran and its predecessors, with pauses along the way to marvel at the widespread End-Cretaceous and End-Permian extinctions. Along with offering general observations about each time’s climate and distinctive biota, she occasionally veers off for glances at climate change, food webs, or other tangential topics. In each chapter she also identifies several creatures of the era that Csotonyi illustrates, usually but not always with photographic precision in scenes that are long on action but mostly light on visible consumption or gore. If some of the landscape views are on the small side, they do feature arresting portraits of, for instance, a crocodilian Smilosuchus that seems to be 100% toothy maw and a pair of early rodents resembling fierce, horned guinea pigs dubbed Ceratogaulus. Though largely a gimmick—the chapters are independent, organized internally from early to late, and could be reshuffled into conventional order with little or no adjustment to the narrative—the reverse-time arrangement does afford an unusual angle on just how far deep time extends.

Nothing to roar over but a pleaser for fans of all things big, toothy, and extinct. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-05-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Best suited for quick hits or casual browsing but unusually broad in scope and cast.

WOMEN ATHLETES WHO RULE!

THE 101 STARS EVERY FAN NEEDS TO KNOW

Tributes to 101 women who made names for themselves in sports or other athletic endeavors.

Grouped in chapters but really arranged arbitrarily, the gallery begins about a century ago with figure skater Sonja Henie and swimmer Gertrude Ederle and continues (while growing more nationally and racially diverse) up to teenage pitcher Mo’ne Davis. In between it highlights select achievements of women in sports from bowling (Marion Ladewig) to roller derby (Anne Calvello) and mixed martial arts (Ronda Rousey). “Firsts” for women, such as climbing Mount Everest (Junko Tabei), also receive nods, as do athletes who overcame childhood disabilities (Wilma Rudolph) or excelled at the Paralympic Games. Each entry focuses on career highlights and comes with a color action photo. Many also feature a quote or “Wow Factor” inset trumpeting some signal feat. The abbreviated narratives frequently leave out “women’s” as a qualifier for other significant information, so that readers who don’t know what a basketball “dunk” is may be unimpressed that Cheryl Miller made two and will come away with the impression that Kathrine Switzer won the New York Marathon outright in 1974 (she was the first woman but came in 59th overall). Still, younger readers looking for athletic role models will find plenty to choose from.

Best suited for quick hits or casual browsing but unusually broad in scope and cast. (Collective biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-073-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Sports Illustrated Books

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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