TERRY AND THE PIRATES

This latest from the author of The Grounding of Group 6 is a confusing jumble—hard to follow and based on an unlikely premise. Terry is 16 when her mother suddenly announces she has decided to send Terry away to boarding school. In response, Terry decides to stow away on the yacht of a rich older man, Maitland Crane. Upon breaking into the boat, she discovers that Maitland’s teenage son Mick is stealing the yacht so he, too, can run away. What follows is an unbelievable series of events, culminating in Terry and Mick finding a lost pirate treasure. In between, the two are the victims of a pirate kidnapping, complete with peg-legged, parrot-toting, earring-wearing, “walk the plank” pirates, a man-eating Komodo Dragon, and an unmapped island hideout. Initially, Terry appears to be a strong female character, but she is really as helpless as so many girls in current books, allowing Mick to make the escape plans, while she uses her feminine wiles to distract the pirates. Mick is an odd character, claiming he was a French marquis in a past life and slipping into that persona frequently, another hard-to-follow device. Written in a flip, choppy style that seems aimed at emulating the voice and thoughts of a teenage girl, the frequent asides rapidly become annoying. And Terry’s ruminations are peppered with sexist and racist comments as well. One passage has Mick searching the island for an escape, while Terry stays behind thinking to herself, “The hardworking man of the house was off to work before she’d even made it out of bed!” Another passage finds the pirates calling Terry a “princess.” Terry wonders if they “thought that was Jewish.” Comments like these, combined with shallow characters, a weak premise, and outlandish situations make this an unappealing book in any case. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-83076-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

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JAM!

THE STORY OF JAZZ MUSIC

A busy page design—artily superimposed text and photos, tinted portraits, and break-out boxes—and occasionally infelicitous writing (“Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie became . . . bandleader of the quintet at the Onyx Club, from which bebop got its name”) give this quick history of jazz a slapdash air, but Lee delves relatively deeply into the music’s direct and indirect African roots, then goes beyond the usual tedious tally of names to present a coherent picture of specific influences and innovations associated with the biggest names in jazz. A highly selective discography will give readers who want to become listeners a jump start; those seeking more background will want to follow this up with James Lincoln Collier’s Jazz (1997). (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8239-1852-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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A fun, educational book which can be enjoyed in and out of the kitchen.

MY HOUSE CHEF

: COOKING WITH LORY AND MAZEL

This highly original children’s cookbook is full of delicious and imaginative recipes, but could benefit from adding healthier and lower-fat alternative recipes.

Whether it’s a beef-filled zucchini boat riding atop a sea of blue spaghetti or fudge cars with gumdrop wheels and lollipop passengers, these fanciful recipes are sure to tempt children. Lory and Mazel are two cartoon mice who guide the reader through the book, donning various costumes according to the theme of each recipe. Children will love the mix of photos, cartoons and colorful graphics. Though many recipes include healthy ingredients, many also contain heavy cream and/or sugar, and white bread is the preferred choice over wheat. A great addition would be healthier versions of these dishes, listing the percentage of daily recommended vitamins, and number of fat and sugar grams in each. But there’s more to the book than simply recipes–a chart lists the approximate recommended serving sizes for children from ages six to 12 in clever, kid-friendly terms. For example, one serving of grain would be half a medium bagel or approximately the size of a hockey puck. Vidal explains the metric and imperial systems of measurement, and gives a lesson given on vitamins and the effect they have on our health. The author also includes a page identifying various kitchen utensils in charming illustrations. For children–and adults–who are flummoxed about proper place settings, there’s a diagram explaining the function and placement of each plate, bowl and utensil. The recipes provide illustrated step-by-step directions, pointing out techniques which may require parental help or supervision. Parents seeking a quick dinner or snack should be forewarned–many of these recipes not only require mixing food colors, but involve some complicated assembly.

A fun, educational book which can be enjoyed in and out of the kitchen.

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4389-7697-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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