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

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THE CURSE ENDS

THE STORY OF THE 2016 CHICAGO CUBS

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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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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

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GHOST

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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