CITIES OF GOLD

A JOURNEY ACROSS THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST IN CORONADO'S FOOTSTEPS

A torturous and sometimes comical attempt to trace Coronado's 450-year-old footsteps through the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest. Preston (Dinosaurs in the Attic, 1986) and an impoverished but free-spirited photographer-friend hire a wrangler (who actually knows less about horses than they do) and set off, even after they've been discouraged by those familiar with the country. Arguing over matters large and small as they go, the two men learn en route—about horses from cowboys they meet; about thirst from the death they court. Expecting to make 25 miles a day, they make four—or none, because they're searching for their horses, which ran off during the night. And all the time, they're aware that they're headed for the despoblado, the ``howling wilderness'' that almost killed Coronado and his men. Preston and his friend end up on precipices too narrow to dismount; they're almost washed away by torrential rains; they grow discouraged and consider giving up the journey. Preston dreams of walking into fine clothing stores and is despondent when he awakens in the arid wilderness. But the two persevere and discover the awesome grandeur of nature, as well as something about themselves. And when they come upon the first of what the Spanish thought were the Seven Cities of Gold, they understand that those early explorers had found something even better than gold—they found food. Throughout, Preston recounts the narratives of Coronado's expedition and other historical accounts, including those of the Indians of the Southwest. A Blue Highways on horseback, well worth the trip. (Maps.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-73759-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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