Entertaining and informative—a rousing choice for young baseball fans.



This illustrated children’s book explains how the Chicago Cubs finally broke the 108-year drought that kept them from winning the World Series.

A billy goat, a disgruntled fan, and a curse: these are the intriguing ingredients of a baseball legend. Told in rhyming verse and depicted in comic book–style graphics, this story tells how fans in 1945, remembering their team’s 1908 win, hoped the Cubs would capture another World Series trophy. But during Game 4, a man who’d brought his smelly goat to watch the game got himself kicked out: “ ‘You will never win again!’ the man proclaimed aloud, / and thus ‘The Curse of the Billy Goat’ fell over the crowd”—or more important, the Cubs. Moving ahead to 2016, the tale details the road to the pennant and the Cubs’ Series win, noting individual contributions by players, the coach, and management. Attinella (Greatest Ever, 2017, etc.) employs lively verse to add emotion to the story. Though his scansion isn’t perfect, he conveys the building excitement as the Cubs inch closer to breaking the curse. The author writes knowledgeably about the team and the game; a gracious touch that fans should appreciate is the volume’s dedication to Cubs fan Steve Bartman. Pascale (Bru-Hed’s Guide to Gettin’ Girls NOW! Vol. 1, 2009, etc.) draws well, with his style mixing realism and cartoon elements. The artwork adds detail, humor, and drama, as in the bottom-up perspective of a player, giving him giantlike dimensions.

Entertaining and informative—a rousing choice for young baseball fans.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9989440-0-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: It Had To Be Told Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A witty addition to the long-running series.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

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From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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