Many parents, divorced or not, will see reflections of themselves in this pleasant collection.

READ REVIEW

SMALL THINGS CONSIDERED

MOMENTS FROM MANLINESS TO MANILOW

A collection of humorous, sometimes poignant essays from an award-winning writer and happily divorced father who confesses to hating kids’ music but loving Barry Manilow tunes.

Schwartzberg (The 40-Year Old Version, 2009) returns with another mostly lighthearted ensemble of short reflections on life as a zany but loving dad trying to raise kids after a divorce. Except for a few f-words and some milder expletives, the humor in this easy beach read is almost squeaky clean. Most parents can relate to “Lost In Space,” about the author’s heart-stopping ordeal when he temporarily loses his son in an electronics store. Readers who have endured the trials and tribulations of selling Girl Scout cookies will chuckle at “Tough Cookies,” a series of tongue-in-cheek office memos in which Schwartzberg harasses co-workers to purchase more boxes. In “Football Redefined,” he creates silly definitions for football terms; for example, in a parent’s world, “Good Field Position” is a “shady picnic spot in the park that’s far from dog poop.” Although most of the essays are fun but shallow dips in the family pool, a few are more somber and affecting, such as the story of a teenage accident victim in “The Girl Who,” and touching reflections about his father and grandfather. The author’s self-effacing humor also reveals some insecurities, particularly when he ponders his role as a dad who no longer lives in the same house as his children. In “Dad to the Bone,” for example, he wistfully details the luxurious amount of time his kids’ stepfather can spend with them: “This man sees them in the morning and at night, takes them out to dinner, wakes them up, helps them with their homework, and tells them to brush their teeth. He sits with them in toy-filled waiting rooms, argues with them, jokes with them and even disciplines them.” In the end, however, Schwartzberg realizes that as his kids’ biological father, he will always hold the most special place in their hearts.

Many parents, divorced or not, will see reflections of themselves in this pleasant collection.

Pub Date: June 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1939288523

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2014

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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