This book includes a lengthy training guide from experienced bodyguards, but it may be the emus that children remember most.

READ REVIEW

BODYGUARDS!

FROM GLADIATORS TO THE SECRET SERVICE

It would be easy to say: “This book includes all the information you need to become a bodyguard.” But the real value of the book is that it contains information you don’t need at all.

According to Chapter 1, it was almost impossible to speak to the pharaoh of Egypt. One needed, Butts writes, “to make an appointment to see the priests’ secretary, to make an appointment to see the priests, to make an appointment to see the pharaoh.” Some authors would have ended the story there, but he lets it keep building: “First, the priests made you take a bath—maybe two or three of them.” The best reason to pick up this book is that every story has one more detail than is necessary. Chapter 6 mentions that geese, donkeys and llamas make good early warning systems because of their sensitive hearing. The next sentence points out that ostriches, emus and kangaroos are also effective. The comic strips that appear in each chapter, on the other hand, add nothing of value. They simply repeat facts from the pages around them, and the characters have such limited facial expression that the story is difficult to follow from panel to panel. Aside from ancient Egyptian priests and animals, other types of bodyguards mentioned include, among others, the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, Abraham Lincoln’s tippling police guard and Elvis’ Memphis Mafia. 

This book includes a lengthy training guide from experienced bodyguards, but it may be the emus that children remember most. (glossary, chronology, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55451-437-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A great collection of harrowing, true survivor stories.

SURVIVORS

A large-format hardcover gathers together true stories of adventure and survival.

Two that are well-known, at least to adults, are Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition and the ordeal of Aron Ralston, who cut off his own arm with a dull pocketknife in order to extricate himself from a dislodged boulder that trapped him in a narrow canyon, the subject of the film 127 Hours. Lesser known is the story of Poon Lim, who survived 133 days alone in the South Atlantic when the merchant ship he was serving on was sunk by a U-boat. At one point, he caught a shark several feet long, pulled it aboard his raft, beat it to death, and proceeded to suck its blood and eat it raw for nourishment. Seventeen-year-old Juliane Koepcke, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian rain forest, relied on survival lessons taught by her parents. During her nine-day ordeal, she poured gasoline on her wounds, which succeeded in removing 35 maggots from one arm. In a skiing accident, Anna Bågenholm was trapped under freezing water for so long her heart stopped. Four hours later, medics managed to warm her blood enough to revive her. The attractive design features a full-page or double-page–spread color illustration depicting a pivotal moment in each well-told story. Entirely absent are such standard features as table of contents, source notes, bibliography, or index, pegging this as an entertainment resource only.

A great collection of harrowing, true survivor stories. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-571-31601-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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