DESTINATION: ROCKY MOUNTAINS

Climbing the Rocky Mountains, from foothills to summit, naturalist Grupper (Destination: Deep Sea, not reviewed, etc.) takes the reader along on his adventure introducing some of the wildlife and plants that live and thrive at the different levels of the ancient mountains. Lavish full-color photographs in characteristic National Geographic style embellish every page with broad sweeps of the changing landscape and close-up details of plants and animals, including bison, mountain goats, grouse, beavers, wolves, bear, pika, and more. While photographs are arresting, it may be difficult for the reader to connect the first-person text by the unseen narrator with the photographs. For example, Grupper states at 6,000 feet: “You’re climbing again, but this time to the top of a cottonwood tree. Behind the cover of leaves you can hide on a makeshift wooden platform, called a blind. In the valley below, the bison gather around the calf to protect her. A pack of hungry coyotes have slipped within the herd.” But what the reader sees is a double-paged close-up photograph of a pair of coyotes panting as they race through the dew-sparkled grass. Two pages later, at 7,000 feet, the reader is aboard a whitewater raft crashing into rapids and examining a beaver pond. From base to summit in 32 dizzying pages. The author concludes with a map of the Rocky Mountains, an afterword about their formation, microclimates, and the need to conserve the wildness. Beautiful and exciting—but hard to follow. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7722-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • National Book Award Finalist

CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND

An African-American youngster is happiest when he can play his harmonica with his bluesman grandfather until tragedy removes the music from his life.

Clayton Byrd idolizes his grandfather, a popular bluesman. But his mother disapproves of her father’s music and of Clayton’s joining Cool Papa Byrd and other bluesmen in the park. Clayton’s father tries to make a place in his life, but the things he likes to do cannot compare to the music. When Cool Papa Byrd dies suddenly, Clayton’s pain is almost unbearable, made worse when his mother gets rid of the records and instruments that Clayton expected would be his way of maintaining that special connection. School becomes as difficult as home, and counseling with the church pastor doesn’t help. Hoping to find a place with the remaining bluesmen, he meets up with a group of street boys making their way with beat music and dance. When he plays his harmonica and the crowd responds, the boys form an uneasy alliance that is threatened when the police intervene. Clayton’s love of his grandfather and his music is wonderfully drawn, as is his grief when he loses them. His mother’s unresolved issues with her own childhood inform the story appropriately for young readers. The conjunction of two African-American music genres, both born of struggle, is a colorful backdrop for this lively story.

Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-221591-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more