An introduction to the history of western music (despite the exotic drums on the cover and some discussion of east and west in a chapter called, ``Blending of opposites''). Spence provides a good background on the development of (mostly) orchestral instruments, explains forms of classical music, including the symphony, opera, and even ballet, gives brief biographies of major composers and finishes up with discussion of modern music. One glossary explains musical terms, another offers brief annotations on 100 musical composers. Full-color reproductions, illustrations, diagrams, and scoring greatly supplement the text, as do lists (of a composer's works, of landmarks in musical history, of famous oratorios) in nearly every verso margin. What's unfortunate is that the recent explosion of music outside of western culture is pretty much ignored, unless it is mentioned as an adjunct to a European composer's work (for example, Debussy's ``discovery'' of Indonesian gamelan music). Further, there is little coverage of minority or female composers. Neil Ardley's Music (Knopf, 1989) focuses mainly on the musical instruments, but is more global in scope, and a little less stuffy. This is a good history of western classical music, though; add it to collections already owning sources on, for example, the history of jazz, world music, and other musical cultures. (glossaries, chronologies, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 1995

ISBN: 1-56294-605-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Sixth-grader Troy White is a one-of-a-kind athlete with the ability to predict which plays any football team will run even before the ball is snapped. However, his mental talents don’t help him crack his youth-league team’s starting lineup (the coach plays his own son at quarterback). Troy dreams of pitching his talent to his beloved Atlanta Falcons, helping them post a winning season. Seemingly an after-school-special waiting to happen, and marked by cinematic writing, this feel-good story has a place in libraries fielding requests for clean and uplifting stories. Touching scenes of underdog Troy wishing he had a father to help him are contrasted with very realistic on-the-field football action, which is not surprising considering that the author is a former NFL player. Many actual players’ names are dropped throughout the story but some, like Randy Moss, may soon switch teams. More than a sports story, romance pops up as Troy nudges star Falcon linebacker Seth Halloway to date Troy’s mother. This light and fast-paced story will appeal to the tween crowd. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-112270-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

An entertaining tale of baseball, family and loyalty.


Sixteen-year-old Julio Ramirez Jr. dreams of being a junior Nacional and playing for Cuba against the best young players around the world.

Baseball is “practically a religion” in Cuba, and Julio’s father was like a Cuban god, an all-star pitcher for the Cuban National Team. Now, having defected, he’s a star for the Miami Marlins. But instead of pride, Julio feels resentment toward his father for abandoning his family to a life of poverty while he, the great El Fuego, lives the high life in Miami with his multimillion-dollar contract. Moreover, Julio’s baseball dreams may not come true: How can he be trusted to leave the country when his father defected; won’t he do the same? So Julio defects too, and in a tense and slightly comic scene, he drives to Florida in a green ’59 Buick that’s been converted into a boat. Julio’s reconciliation with his father is handled deftly in its poignant awkwardness, and baseball action is appropriately exciting, though the notion that Julio is allowed to hang out with his father during Game 7 of the World Series is seriously implausible. Volponi wisely shies away from a tidy, inspirational ending but does leave room for hope for reconciliation.

An entertaining tale of baseball, family and loyalty. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-78518-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet