Aside from the lack of continuity of the photographs, as an introduction to lacrosse, this book is a score.




An introduction to the sport of lacrosse for beginners.

Sports Illustrated for Kids presents the basic principles and vocabulary of lacrosse, including the equipment, where it is played, and the positions of each player, as well as describing the differences between women’s and men’s lacrosse. The account follows the format of a game, with scoreboard-type boxes that keep track of the time and quarter. Vocabulary words, such as “cradle,” “face-off,” “slashing,” and “offsides,” are written in big block letters to emphasize importance. Collaged-in photographs of real players engaged in particular actions of the game appear on bright, colored backgrounds. These photographs are of players on different teams, so with each turn of the page there is a loss of continuity. Two little cartoon characters—a boy and girl—appear on each page and add silly commentary and comedic actions, like bringing a vacuum into the game to steal the ball. Other thought and speech bubbles are slapped on above the real-life photographs, adding often mindless but humorous commentary. The writing gives detailed explanations of what to expect in the game, but some of the illustrations can be confusing. Most of the players in the photographs appear to be white; the cartoon girl has brown skin, and the cartoon boy is pale.

Aside from the lack of continuity of the photographs, as an introduction to lacrosse, this book is a score. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-078-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Liberty Street/Time Inc. Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Bird-finding made easy and attractive.


A veteran birder invites young readers to look for the birds around them.

“There are lots of ways to find a bird. / That’s the wonderful thing about birds.” Ward, author of many nature titles including Mama Dug a Little Den, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (2018), offers good suggestions for bird-finding at any age. Move slowly and quietly. Try to blend in. Look up, down, and also straight ahead. And, finally, “the best way to find a bird”: close your eyes and listen. Ward makes clear why birds are where they are. Some are feeding or nesting on the ground; some are snacking or splashing in the water; some are high in the sky; others perch on wires or feed in your own backyard. Sudyka’s opaque watercolors are as engaging as the text. A smiling black child and a shorter child with pale skin and straight, black pigtails discover birds in a variety of environments. Hand-lettered labels identify the many birds shown. Two spreads make a puzzle: Three birds blend into a tree’s bark so well they can barely be seen; a page turn shows them close-up and labeled. The birds might not realistically all be found in the same parts of this country or at the same time, but they are reasonably common (except on the spread showing five extinct birds) and clearly identifiable in these illustrations. An afterword for older readers or caregivers provides good suggestions and further resources.

Bird-finding made easy and attractive. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6705-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Watch a Disney film instead.



A girl grows up to be an instrumental Disney artist.

Mary Blair, nee Mary Browne Robinson, enjoys colors and painting in childhood. She dreams of being an artist and earns a spot at an art school. Later, she accepts a job at Walt Disney Studios. Over the course of her career, she paints Dumbo, creates concept art for iconic animated films (Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan), and helps create and design the world-famous Disney park attraction “It’s a small world.” Novesky’s plotline and prose about Blair’s massively influential achievements are oddly lackluster, reporting facts without spirit. Likewise, Lee’s cut-paper and gouache media have a flatness—neither cut paper nor gouache is recognizable on most spreads—and a lack of vitality. Blair’s a generic, tiny-waisted blonde white lady; characters smile almost unceasingly, even when the subject is poverty. This art is styled similarly to Disney art, but it lacks pizzazz. “It’s a small world” is glorified, with no examination of how it stereotypes and exoticizes race, nationality, and ethnicity; Lee’s illustrations reinscribe that very problem while Novesky romantically calls “small world” a celebration of “unity, goodwill, and global peace” leading to “colorful happily ever afters” (for whom?). Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Brigette Barrager’s Pocket Full of Colors (2017) is a far livelier Blair biography, although it also ignores racism concerns.

Watch a Disney film instead. (illustrator’s note, note from Mary Blair’s niece, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4847-5720-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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