A fine choice for both young and older, less-skilled readers.


From the Totally True Adventures series

Edmund Hillary is generally recognized as the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest; his Nepalese climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay, has received far less attention.

In brief chapters, Herman first describes early efforts to scale Everest, one of which led to the deaths of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924. She includes basic information about the many challenges climbers faced: poor equipment, avalanche danger, extreme cold and severe storms, and, especially, oxygen deprivation at high altitudes. Biographical information about Mallory, Norgay, and Hillary adds context to their intrepid, driven efforts. Information about the essential role played by numerous skilled Sherpas adds a multicultural element. The rest of this engaging nonfiction tale focuses on Hillary and Norgay's shared climb, truly a team effort that the two men spent most of their lives preparing for. Appealing cover art and a high-interest topic that pairs well with other recent Everest-focused books help make this an easy sell for reluctant readers. Follow-up information on the surviving climbers, a description of a 50th-anniversary expedition to the summit by the sons of Norgay and Hillary in 2003, a list of Mount Everest records, and maps and illustrations (not available for review) round out a balanced and entertaining presentation.

A fine choice for both young and older, less-skilled readers. (Nonfiction. 7-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-50986-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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To a boy like Steinberg, who grew up with action figures and three-inch-tall president statues who battled it out, it made perfect sense to create matchups between presidents and football games. Barack Obama is the 44th president, and early in his presidency came the 44th Super Bowl, so why not match each president with a Super Bowl game? President Washington, it turns out, wins round one: a monumental presidency, a letdown of a football game. Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 16, but he didn’t free the slaves—“It’s Abraham Lincoln in a walkover.” There were no scandals in game 37, so score a win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Richard Nixon. Each spread represents a game, with plenty of pictures and speech bubbles, as well as a scoreboard. Based on the America Bowl blog, this admittedly lightweight volume will teach a bit about presidents and football while offering the pure fun and goofiness intended by the author. (appendix) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-683-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Flash Point/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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Brisk, broad, often funny…and more than just peddling the medals.



An overview of Olympic and Paralympic events, with notes on rules, history, special gear, and epic feats and fails.

After quick intros to the ancient and modern games—and a timeline of the latter that, in a spirit of optimism, runs to 2020—this handbook goes on to cover some 40-plus events or classes of event, including sport climbing and skateboarding, both putatively debuting in 2020. Each entry arranges quick bursts of fact, historical background, basic rules of play, and medal tallies of renowned winners around a large, stylized central scene showing racially and ethnically diverse competitors in vigorous action; occasionally snarky commentary adds a chuckle or two (Wrestling: “A combat sport in which two athletes in singlets roll around on a mat cuddling each other until one of them can’t move anymore”). Along with individual entries for goalball and boccia, which are exclusively Paralympic events, versions of each sport as adapted for athletes with disabilities get nods throughout. Despite a claim at the outset that it’s “all about the medals!” every entry also includes general advice about the hazards and pleasures of participating in each sport at any level of skill. Readers will come away with a good overall view of the summer Olympics, if not a complete tally—in sailing alone, as Allen notes, there are 10 to 15 races in each of eight different events—plus a look at 19 exciting sports or games that may one day be added, like break dancing or…well, bowling.

Brisk, broad, often funny…and more than just peddling the medals. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1398-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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