SUMMER WHEELS

In a neighborhood where few kids own bikes, the "Bicycle Man" (based on a real person) loans out his lovingly renovated collection, with just two rules: the bikes must be returned by four, and if they're damaged, the borrower must help make repairs. One day blond Brady and his friend Lawrence (the African-American narrator) make an early return; Lawrence is dismayed to see a tough-looking boy taking his favorite bike, signing an obviously false name. Sure enough, "Abrehem Lincoln" doesn't bring the bike back until the younger boys pursue him next day; and when he's entrusted with a second bike, he misuses it—but then returns to confide his true name and make an earnest effort at repair. Reformation comes almost effortlessly in this easily read chapter book, yet the dynamics of the situation are true to life as well as idealistic, the story crafted with details that give its characters individuality. In illustrations beautifully limned in impressionistic charcoal and pastels, Allen evokes character, mood, and the West Coast setting. An inspiring story with broad appeal and a handsome format. (Fiction/Young reader. 6-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0152009884

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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This unusual book offers a surprising amount of information, organized and presented in an appealing way for...

WHY WE LIVE WHERE WE LIVE

Why do people choose to live where they do in our world?

Vermond’s introduction to that big question points out that humans adapt: They use their big brains and work together to make places livable. A comfortable climate, readily available food and water, power for heat, light, transportation and communication, people who speak the same language, nearby families and plentiful jobs are just some of the things people are looking for. From the “Planet Perfect” to making your hometown one of “The Happiest Places on Earth,” the author considers human needs, briefly surveys the development of cities, explains what urban planners do, considers the reasons for living in a dangerous place as well as the reasons for moving, and touches on the effects of climate change and the possibility of living elsewhere in the universe. Each spread covers a separate topic. The extensive, conversational text is often set in columns and broken down into short segments, each with a heading, moving along quickly. A lively design and humorous illustrations add appeal. Unfortunately, there are no sources or suggestions for further reading.

This unusual book offers a surprising amount of information, organized and presented in an appealing way for upper-elementary students. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-011-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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