Potentially useful in classrooms that include character education in the curriculum, this purposive anthology will likely...

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DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD

An illustrated collection of poems celebrating those who have, as the title indicates, "changed the world."

While the individuals profiled here are undeniably inspiring, the biographical poem, brief text and topical poem intended to illuminate each person’s achievements don’t adequately convey personality or relevance, resulting in an uneven collection that, ironically enough, fails to live up to its potential. Thirty poets have contributed their work, from familiar, prolific authors such as Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jane Yolen and Marilyn Singer to those whose writing is less well-known. Subjects range from the contemporary (Temple Grandin, Steven Spielberg) to the historical (Jonas Salk), and from the well-known to the obscure (Father Greg Boyle). Unfortunately, the poems are uneven in quality, with many seeming forced or predictable. In general, the topical poems are the most successful, with particularly engaging verses by Singer (about the joys of flight) and Alice Schertle (pondering the mysteries of a mummy’s tomb). A variety of poetic forms are used; some feature rhyme and are composed of multiple stanzas, others seem more like prose portraits arbitrarily broken into short lines. Jepson’s vibrant collage-style illustrations incorporate a variety of patterns and textures. Complementary colors help to tie facing pages together and also serve as backgrounds to the text, further linking the concepts on each double-page spread.

Potentially useful in classrooms that include character education in the curriculum, this purposive anthology will likely find it hard to find an appreciative audience in less-structured settings. (Picture book/poetry. 8 and up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-065-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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