A terrific gathering of heroic hacks and legendary near misses, ideal as a companion for systematic histories such as...

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LEGENDS

THE BEST PLAYERS, GAMES, AND TEAMS IN BASEBALL

A sports fan’s delight: historical highlights (and lowlights), tributes to great players and lots of “Top Ten” lists ripe for vigorous second guessing.

ESPN columnist and NPR sports correspondent Bryant leads off with Babe Ruth and seals the win with the dramatic 2011 Cardinals/Rangers World Series. Using a seasonal organization, he lines up first a select set of players (“Spring”), then teams (“Summer”) and finally memorable World Series (“Fall”). In between the essays (a half-dozen per season) he offers lists of statistical leaders or of personal choices for most dominant players in an era, best nicknames and other hot-stove topics. He often angles his spotlight away from the usual feats and milestones to focus, for instance, not on Jackie Robinson’s entry into the major league in 1947, but on his career year of 1949 or on teams that won hearts and minds if not always games. An account of the sensational but steroid-spoiled home-run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa is at once exhilarating and thought-provoking. A woefully stingy set of photos highlighting a few players and triumphs is the only whiff here.

A terrific gathering of heroic hacks and legendary near misses, ideal as a companion for systematic histories such as Lawrence Ritter’s ripe-for-updating Story of Baseball (3rd edition, 1999). (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16903-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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DANCING WHEELS

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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