DRIVEN

A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY FORD

This well-rounded portrait depicts Ford as a complex, contradictory figure embodying qualities that are equally admirable and loathsome. His relentless pursuit of his vision resulted in the Model T, transforming the automobile from luxury item to something affordable for average Americans. The narrative lays it out: Ford’s innovative workplace practices included doubling the average wage of automotive-industry workers, reducing the workweek from six days to five and setting new standards for factory safety. Ford was pioneering in his willingness to hire African-Americans, ex-convicts, women, the physically disabled and mentally ill. The undoing of his reputation was largely self-inflicted. He purchased a newspaper to publish anti-Semitic propaganda and distributed it through Ford dealerships. Mitchell vaguely speculates on the roots of Ford’s anti-Semitism and does not mention that Hitler was a great admirer. Adamant opposition to labor unions further tarnished Ford’s reputation as a champion of the common man, though the author’s essential fondness for his subject shines through even here. An ample selection of well-captioned photographs, maps and archival material breaks up the text and demonstrates the tremendous impact of the Ford Motor Company. (chronology, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0155-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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HOOT

The straight-arrow son of a maybe-federal agent (he’s not quite sure) turns eco-terrorist in this first offering for kids from one of detective fiction’s funniest novelists. Fans of Hiaasen’s (Basket Case, 2001, etc.) novels for adults may wonder how well his profane and frequently kinky writing will adapt to a child’s audience; the answer is, remarkably well. Roy Eberhardt has recently arrived in Florida; accustomed to being the new kid after several family moves, he is more of an observer than a participant. When he observes a bare-footed boy running through the subdivisions of Coconut Grove, however, he finds himself compelled to follow and, later, to ally himself with the strange boy called Mullet Fingers. Meanwhile, the dimwitted but appealingly dogged Officer Delinko finds himself compelled to crack the case of the mysterious vandals at the construction site of a new Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House—it couldn’t have anything to do with those cute burrowing owls, could it? The plot doesn’t overwhelm with surprises; even the densest readers will soon suss out the connections between Mullet Fingers, the owls, and Mother Paula’s steadfast denial of the owls’ existence. The fun lies in Hiaasen’s trademark twisted characters, including Dana Matherson, the class bully who regularly beats up on Roy and whose unwitting help Roy wickedly enlists; Beatrice Leep, Mullet Fingers’s fiercely loyal sister and co-conspirator; Curly, Mother Paula’s hilariously inept foreman; and Roy’s equally straight-arrow parents, who encourage him to do the right thing without exactly telling him how. Roy is rather surprisingly engaging, given his utter and somewhat unnatural wholesomeness; it’s his kind of determined innocence that sees through the corruption and compromises of the adult world to understand what must be done to make things right. If the ending is somewhat predictable, it is also entirely satisfying—Hoot is, indeed, a hoot. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-375-82181-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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