Immersive, though the pitch is definitely at browsing dippers and flippers.



A wide-ranging sampler of records, stats, stars, highlights, lowlights, sidelights, and general baseball talk.

Modeled on Gramling’s Football Fanbook (2017), the topical chapters each offer assortments of quick-fix descriptions or anecdotes interspersed with plenty of diagrams, spot art, and color photos of players in action. The target audience is hard to define, as readers are expected to know already about steroids, racism, the Dead Ball era, and the significance of an asterisk on a record such as the number of home runs in a season or career. Bafflingly, though, they’re assumed not to know what a “check swing” (sic) is, nor how to practice batting and catching alone at home. Still, along with major league team-by-team “Tidbits” and instructions for keeping score, there are instructions for shelling sunflower seeds with one’s teeth (the last demonstrated by a girl with brown skin and black braids). Likewise, a section pairing stars of the past and present offers intriguing comparisons; souvenir-ball and autograph seekers will find sensible advice; and hot-dog lovers will slaver over lovingly detailed descriptions of the toppings on, for instance, the classic “Dodger Dog” or the “Cracker Jack and Mac Dog” available at Pirates games.

Immersive, though the pitch is definitely at browsing dippers and flippers. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-069-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Liberty Street/Time Inc. Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A stereotype about people with disabilities is shattered by this introduction to a dance company known as Dancing Wheels, a group composed of “sit down” and “stand-up” dancers. The story begins with Mary Fletcher-Verdi, born with spina bifida, a condition that causes weakness in the legs and spine. Mary always wanted to dance, and, encouraged by a family who focused on what she could do rather than what she couldn’t, she studied the art and eventually formed a mixed company, some who dance on their legs, and some who dance in wheelchairs. What she accomplished can be seen in this photo journal of the group’s dance workshop in which beginners and experienced dancers study and rehearse. Along the way, McMahon (One Belfast Boy, 1999, etc.) intersperses the history of the group, some details about the dancers, their families, and the rehearsal process that leads up to the final performance. Three children are featured, Jenny a wheelchair dancer, Devin, her stand-up partner, and Sabatino, the young son of Mary’s partner. The focus on these youngsters gives the reader a sense of their personalities and their lives with their families. Godt’s (Listen for the Bus, not reviewed, etc.) color photographs detail every aspect of the story and show the dancers at home and in rehearsal, interacting with each other, having fun, and finally performaning. They convey the dancer’s sense of joy as well as the commitment to the dance as an art form felt by the adult directors and teachers. An excellent book for helping children and adults expand their understanding about the abilities of the “disabled.” (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-88889-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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Quick, bright, danceable, and splashy, if only ankle deep.



A 40,000-year-long jam with an international cast of players and cultures.

The spirit of scat is definitely alive in the presentation, as each single-topic spread tosses together a busy collage of period images or photos with colored boxes filled with quick takes on a style or genre, significant instruments and technical innovations, and, for (relatively) more recent eras, select composers and performers from troubadour Castelloza to Rihanna. Moving quickly on from prehistoric bone flutes, the more-or-less chronological history focuses on the European and, later, North American scenes but does spare occasional nods for Indigenous and non-Western music. More often it lets distinctive styles from other continents take the stage—following introductions to Wagner and Puccini with a look at Asian opera, for instance, and giving Indipop, Afropop, J-pop, and K-pop quick solos of their own. Hip-hop and house music are invited to the party, but gangsta rap is not, nor is Tupac (or, for that matter, any reference to profanity, violence, or even drug or alcohol abuse). Still, themes of racial prejudice and identity do play through pages devoted to the blues, big bands, R&B, and rock-’n’-roll, and the balance of men and women artists is carefully measured from the outset. Frequent leads to relevant musical selections on the web furnish a soundtrack.

Quick, bright, danceable, and splashy, if only ankle deep. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3541-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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