Joyful, enthusiastic, well-versed, and uplifting.


Jökulsson and Torfason present 20 men with thighs like oak and feet like mambas.

Like Madonna, these men need only one name, like Maradona. Represented in short, zinging profiles are 20 of soccer’s (or football’s, if you prefer) greatest players. Told with as much flash as the players exhibit, the book is also energetic in its design, with crisp biographies that capture major moments, boxed items that illuminate some particular achievement or disaster, photos, and outline maps of the players’ native countries. Soccer is a game that rivets half the world, from Finland to Cameroon to Argentina, and its global reach is an important aspect of the book’s humanism. It doesn’t shy away from the weaknesses that can attend even the most gifted among us: George Best’s alcoholism, Zinedine Zidane’s temper, Diego Maradona’s drug problems. While all these players had extraordinary physical attributes of strength and endurance, what makes them shine is their elegance and brains. Such words as “cunning,” “dexterity,” and “vision” speak of what is admired in the game: “Beckenbauer was such an ingenious defense player and team leader that he is repeatedly noted as the greatest defender in history—without ever being rough or vicious.” The worldwide scope of the players represented is impressive, and it also gives a sense of world history, as in the entry on Mozambique’s Eusébio, who played for then–imperial overlord Portugal.

Joyful, enthusiastic, well-versed, and uplifting. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1295-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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During the Great Depression, women's ice-hockey teams across Canada fought an uphill battle to scrape together enough money...


In the 1930s, the Canadian female ice-hockey team called the Rivulettes dominated the ice.

During the Great Depression, women's ice-hockey teams across Canada fought an uphill battle to scrape together enough money to play. From 1931-1940, the Preston Rivulettes, led by Hilda Ranscome, overwhelmed all other teams, capturing the national title in the four years that they could afford to travel far enough to compete for it. With the pressure of the war, and because they were no longer capturing fan enthusiasm since they always won, the Rivulettes disbanded in 1942. After the war, the culture had changed, and women’s ice hockey nearly disappeared until a recent rebirth. This effort describes in detail many of the key games the team played over that decade and the way that their remarkable record has been largely ignored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Though the book effectively captures the scrappy nature of the games (with numerous penalties in each for high sticking and fighting), disappointingly, it lacks any significant biographical information on team members. Only a couple are very briefly sketched. Readers will wonder what made this team so great; more information about the players might have provided key insights.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55277-721-3

Page Count: 136

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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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