A prefab profile that will be outdated long before it becomes available.

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DONALD TRUMP

OUTSPOKEN PERSONALITY AND PRESIDENT

From the Gateway Biographies series

A quick scan of the recently elected chief executive’s family, background, and campaign.

Between tacked-on mentions of her subject’s win (sans numbers or electoral maps) at the open and close, Sherman retraces the rise of the Trump fortune. She begins with the immigration of his grandfather Friedrich Drumpf to the U.S. in 1885, then continues to his transition from casinos and other real estate ventures (and reality TV celebrity) into politics, and concludes with his campaign. Though frank enough to mention Marla Maples and his multiple marriages, the author passes in silence over Trump’s many bankruptcies and slicker financial dealings. She even manages to put positive spins on his M.O. (“Donald understood that this hard work and ability to make deals were the keys to his success”) and his “bold and controversial” campaign statements: “He thought it was important to state his views honestly.” Those views are presented only in summary form, without comparison or analysis, and his formal debates with rival Hillary Clinton are confined to a reference to Benghazi. The account is interspersed with staid news photos, and it ends on election night with a generic comment that the world is watching to “see what President Trump will do next.”

A prefab profile that will be outdated long before it becomes available. (source notes, timeline, further reading, index) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2596-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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More-systematic treatments abound, but the airy tone and quick-facts presentation give this some potential as a...

MYTHOLOGY

OH MY! GODS AND GODDESSES

From the Basher History series

In Basher’s latest set of breezy “self”-portraits, 58 gods, demigods and mythological creations of diverse sort step up in turn to the microphone.

The entrants are limited to the ancient Egyptian, Norse and Greco-Roman pantheons and arranged in no particular order within their respective chapters. They range from the usual celebrities like Poseidon (“rhymes with ‘Joe Biden’ ”), Odin and Osiris to some who have gotten less press, such as Hebe—“Waitress to the Olympians”—and Gefjon, Aesir goddess of plowing. Along with mixing in such non-Olympians as Odysseus, Budzik swells the ranks by lending voices to Bifrost, Yggdrasil and even the battle of Ragnarok. The author’s introductory claim that the gods gave mortals “something to believe in and ideals to aspire to when life was looking bleak” is massively disingenuous considering the speakers’ own accounts of their exploits (Hel complains, “It’s really grim here. I get the dreariest dead”). Nevertheless, the sex and violence are toned down to, for instance, Hera’s tart reference to “my hubby’s mortal girlfriends” and Isis’ allusion to “complicated family vibes” (following her brother/husband Osiris’ dismemberment by their brother, Seth). In a radical departure for Basher, some of his dolllike cartoon figures bear grimaces rather than cutesy smiles.

More-systematic treatments abound, but the airy tone and quick-facts presentation give this some potential as a lighter-than-air refresher. (chart and foldout poster of Greek/Roman equivalents) (Mythology. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7534-7171-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Chortleworthy at first glance, disturbingly superficial at second and subsequent ones.

THE PRESIDENTIAL MASTERS OF PREHISTORY

From the Jurassic Classics series

Six presidents of our Holocene epoch pair up with prehistoric predecessors, from George Washingdonyx to Franklin D. Rex.

Following the format of The Prehistoric Masters of Literature (2016), Lacey matches a dino-bio that comes with an attached booklet containing further details to a profile of a historical chief executive from the (considerably) more recent past. Though millions of years separate the administrations of each couple, there are remarkable parallels: Thomas Jeffersaurus drafted a “Declaration of In-dino-pendence,” and Franklin D. Rex crafted a New Deal for those afflicted by the Great Ice Age. It’s a clever premise—but the author’s efforts to accentuate the positive for each president lead her into some troublesome territory. She trumpets Andrew Jaxceratops/Jackson’s “passion for democracy” while staying silent about his treatment of Native Americans, for instance, and makes no mention of slavery either until noting that (in an infelicitous choice of words) Abraham Lincolnator “freed millions of creatures.” The Winning of the West may not be the best choice to represent Theodore Rexevelt’s publications either, considering that work’s rabid cultural imperialism. For all that they’re uniformly green of skin, the dignitaries in Isik’s cartoon portraits generally resemble their modern white (mostly) counterparts, except in a gallery of additional proto-presidents where “Obamasaurus” has thick lips (wrong in more ways than one).

Chortleworthy at first glance, disturbingly superficial at second and subsequent ones. (list of presidents) (Informational novelty. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-109-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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